A local powerlifter is fighting for religious freedom as she heads to the USA Powerlifting Nationals later this month. Javon O’Kray is member of Life of Christ Ministries. The religion has a strict code of modesty which requires women to wear skirts at all times. she's been allowed to compete in a skirt in previous events, but has now been told she can not wear a skirt at the nationals later this month.

But there is a religious exception for Muslim women that allows them to compete in attire that maintains the integrity of their strict religious beliefs. O'Kray is now claiming religious discrimination and is asking for reconsideration of her case.

The USA Powerlifting Raw Nationals is set for October 16, 2019.  Her religious constraints derive in part from Deuteronomy 22:5, which states that, “A woman must not wear men’s clothing…”.

She has been allowed to compete in a skirt at several events including USA Powerlifting Summer Classic 2019, Shreveport Showdown 2017 and 2018, Louisiana State Games 2018, and the AAU World Strength Sports Championship in Las Vegas, in 2018.  While she has been told no skirt for Nationals this year, USA Powerlifting makes religious accommodations for other female athletes, specifically for Muslim women.

O’Kray was informed this decision came directly from the chairman of the USA Powerlifting Technical Committee, Joe Warpeha.

There is a religious exception for Muslim women that allows them to compete in attire that maintains the integrity of their strict religious beliefs.

Page 18 of The Rules states: Muslim women shall be allowed to wear:

A tight fit, non-supportive full body suit that covers the legs and the arms
Knee sleeves or knee wraps may not be worn over or underneath the full body suit
Hijab (head scarf) while lifting
In bench press, the jury or referees may require the lifter to affix her hair accordingly to the performance of the bench press