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Powerlifter JayCee Cooper relies on resilience amid uncertain times

Coronavirus impact: Powerlifter JayCee Cooper remains ready to compete and speak out and but struggles with uncertainty

JayCee Cooper in her home gym.
Mariah Hamm

Outsports is asking LGBTQ people in sports how they are impacted by the coronavirus crisis and its effects on all aspects of daily life. Today: JayCee Cooper of Minnesota, the transgender powerlifter who we named as one of the Outsports Female Heroes of the Year in 2019. She currently has a claim of discrimination against a powerlifting federation before Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights.

Fortunately, I have a home gym setup so I have been able to get some training in. My main focus is rehabbing injuries and taking time to reset, but it’s tough to do this while so much is up in the air like job, income, security and food.

But what’s new? This is what so many trans people manage on a daily basis, athlete or not. We continue to be some of the most resilient people in existence. I guess in some ways this time is for tapping into that pathway of resilience and sharing that with others.

For trans youth: Know this robust history of resilience and know that in the end we will thrive. It’s what we do best. Be there for one another, even if it’s through a phone call or a text, and lift each other up.

It’s certainly a time of suspension and unknown. Its sad that even though this virus is devastating for so many people that the priority for many politicians has been to add to that hardship for trans folx. They’ve pushed unconstitutional and bigoted legislation harder than ever while the world has been busy dealing with health crisis. It is deeply concerning.

JayCee Cooper stands in her home gym, in front of more than a dozen medals she’s earned through power lifting.
Mariah Hamm

These have been trying days and some days you want to be a feel strong for your community. Strength is shown in many ways though. Sometimes letting yourself feel and express and full ray of emotions is strength in itself. Existing in the current state of being, we need to give ourselves that power. Our feelings, like the outrage over the bills just signed into law, are valid.

JayCee Cooper is a competitive powerlifter and transgender activist from St. Paul, Minnesota. She can be reached via Instagram (@jayceeisalive), and on Twitter (@jayceeisalive)

If you are an out LGBTQ person in sports and want to tell us how the coronavirus crisis has affected your life, email Jim Buzinski (kandreeky@gmail.com).