Joint Press Conference Against Sex Discrimination


Independent Council on Women’s Sports and USA Powerlifting


Independent Council on Women’s Sports and USA Powerlifting

Hold Joint Press Conference Against Sex Discrimination 

The Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS) and USA Powerlifting (USAPL) are holding a joint press conference on Monday June 12, 2023 near Dallas, TX, to protest a court’s ruling that USAPL must cease operations in Minnesota unless it permits male athletes to compete against women in powerlifting competitions.

“Our message is that the State of Minnesota is inhospitable for sports organizations unless they’re willing to knowingly discriminate against female athletes. We cannot provide resources or opportunities to men or women under these conditions,” said Kim Jones, co-founder of ICONS. 

The press conference will be held at 9:00 a.m. CDT at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel (details below) and can be viewed on the ICONS Facebook and other @icons_women platforms.

Press Conference speakers will include: USA Powerlifting President Larry Maile, PhD; ICONS co-founder Marshi Smith; 12-time All-American swimmer Riley Gaines; record-breaking Canadian powerlifter April Hutchinson; skateboarder Taylor Silverman and more.

Powerlifters are now signing the ICONS Petition, which asks governing boards of sport and legislative authorities to protect and preserve women’s sports.

“Powerlifting has divisions and weight classes in order to provide a fair opportunity for all those who compete, it is as simple as that,” wrote one Minnesota female powerlifter who signed the ICONS petition. “I would never compete against someone who is several years younger or several years older or someone who weighs a lot less or a lot more than I do. Nor would I compete against a man.”

“I recently competed in the MN state championships for powerlifting in the junior division,” wrote another USAPL Minnesota member and petition signer. “I am frustrated and saddened that the opportunity to compete in MN has been taken away from me and my fellow athletes… I have worked hard to gain the strength that I possess, and I support USA Powerlifting for recognizing that biological men and biological women need to have separate divisions.” 

Anchorage, AK-headquartered USPLA—which is appealing the Minnesota court ruling—is a non-profit association for amateur powerlifting that emphasizes a drug-free sport. USAPL takes the position that “use of testosterone and participation of male to female transgender athletes in the women’s category of our sport compromises fair play.”

ICONS is a US-based non-profit network of eminent athletes and coaches, experts, parents, and concerned citizens advocating for fairness and safety in women’s sports. It seeks an end to all policies and rules that would allow male athletes to take roster spots on women’s teams and/or compete in women’s events.

At issue are rulings from February 27 and April 11, 2023 by a Ramsey County District Court judge in favor of a Minnesota powerlifter who is born male but identifies as a woman and seeks to compete against female powerlifters.

When USAPL refused to admit the competitor in the women’s category in 2019, this athlete filed a claim of discrimination against USAPL and later sued the association for violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

In the Cooper v. USA Powerlifting decision, the judge ruled that the plaintiff was discriminated against. He ordered USAPL to “cease and desist” its current practices and change its policies to comply with the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which says businesses and public accommodations cannot deny people full participation based on their sex or sexual orientation.

The judge further prohibited USAPL from selling new memberships in Minnesota—or running any meets in Minnesota. That marked the first time a men’s sport has been impacted; no USAPL member, either male or female, is now permitted to participate in competitions within the state, said USAPL, which noted that it has already been forced to relocate two of its regional meets from St. Paul, MN.

For questions or more information, please contact [email protected].

For local press: The Sheraton Arlington Hotel is located at 1500 Convention Center Drive, Arlington, TX 76011. Light refreshments will be available. 

Separately, on June 17, USAPL is holding the 2023 Equipped Nationals at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. For more details, please visit USAPL
or contact [email protected]

Follow us: @icons_women

CONTACT: Marshi Smith Independent Council on Women's Sports 702-323-4516 [email protected] 

Disclaimer: The above press release comes to you under an arrangement with GlobeNewswire. takes no editorial responsibility for the same.