Idaho sued for first-in-nation law banning transgender participation in girls’ sports

(USA Features) A lawsuit has been filed challenging Idaho’s first-in-the-nation statute that prohibits transgendered athletes from competing in all-female sports competitions.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boise by the American Civil Liberties Union names Lindsay Hecox as the plaintiff, a transgender track athlete at Boise State University.

In addition, the suit lists another plaintiff as a 17-year-old soccer player at Boise High School who is not transgender but fears the law could invade her privacy if she is required to prove her sex if challenged.

“In Idaho and across the country, transgender people of all ages have been participating in sports consistent with their gender identity for years. Inclusive teams support all athletes and encourage participation — this should be the standard for all school sports,” said Gabriel Arkles, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project.

The suit argues that the law violated plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Equal Protection Clause within the 14th Amendment and names as defendants Idaho school officials and Republican Gov. Brad Little, who signed the legislation March 30.

“I think that the issue is the girl’s right to participate without having to be concerned about who they’re competing with,” Little told KTVB-TV in an interview last week. “And that’s why I signed the bill.”

GOP state Rep. Barbara Ehardt, the bill’s sponsor, is a former Division I college basketball athlete and coach. She argued that allowing transgender athletes to compete in girls’ and women’s sports creates an unfair advantage against biological females because of natural physical advantages of boys and men.

“It is sad to think that there are those who would prevent girls and women from competing in their own sports while continuing to give more opportunities to boys and men,” she told the Washington Times.

The bill states, “Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.”

For athletes whose sex is disputed, “a student may establish sex by presenting a signed physician’s statement that shall indicate the student’s sex based solely on (a) The student’s internal and external reproductive anatomy; (b) The student’s normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone, and (c) Analysis of the student’s genetic makeup.”

Ehardt said sex could be established via normal sports physicals.

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