CrossFit announced that it will allow transgender athletes to compete in its annual national tournament, Crossfit games, in accordance with their identified gender, starting in 2019.
“This is the right thing to do,” Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, told Buzzfeed News. “CrossFit believes in the potential, capacity, and dignity of every athlete. We are proud of our LGBT community, including our transgender athletes, and we want you here with us.”
In CrossFit Games, a summer tournament hosted by CrossFit Inc. and Reebok, athletes compete in exercises typically present in the popular fitness regiment, such as gymnastics, aerobics, and weightlifting. Each year, a surprise exercise is added to the competition that is not a part of the usual CrossFit workout. The competition is divided by gender, as are most sports competitions, according to the CrossFit Games site.
Previously, CrossFit policy required trans athletes to compete according to their assigned gender at birth. This policy culminated in a lawsuit against the company when transgender athlete Chloie Jönsson's registration was invalidated and she was told she must compete in the men’s division. The organization justified invalidating Jönsson's registration based on the debunked claim that trans women supposedly have a competitive advantage over cis women.
The change suggests that Glassman was receptive to criticism offered by the LGBTQ community, or at least was subjected to pressures from the MoveOn petition supported by GLAAD in light of the lawsuit.
“CrossFit admitted they’re wrong and is making it right,” Jonsson told Buzzfeed News of the policy change.
This is not the first time Glassman made a stand for the LGBTQ community. In June, CrossFit’s then-legal researcher and de facto spokesman Russell Berger praised an Indianapolis CrossFit facility for canceling a Pride event and calling Pride “a sin.”
Glassman fired Berger, calling Berger a “zealot” who needed to “take a big dose of ‘shut the f-- up.’”