An Idaho law that bars transgender
athletes from playing sports is being challenged.
The first-in-the-nation law was signed
by Republican Governor Brad Little two weeks ago with little fanfare
and has yet to go into effect.
Titled the “Fairness in Women's
Sports Act,” the bill, House Bill 500, bans transgender women and
girls from playing on female high school and college sports teams.
The legislation applies to all publicly sponsored sports teams.
Supporters of the bill said that it is
needed because transgender women and girls have a physical advantage.
Opponents argued that the bill subjects transgender athletes to
On Wednesday, a coalition of legal
groups – the ACLU, the ACLU of Idaho, Legal Voice, and Cooley LLP –
filed a lawsuit on behalf of a track athlete at Boise State
University who is transgender and a junior at Boise High School who
“We're suing because HB 500 illegally
targets women and girls who are transgender and intersex and subjects
all female athletes to the possibility of invasive genital and
genetic screenings,” Gabriel Arkles, senior staff attorney with the
ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement. “In Idaho and
around 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.”
Plaintiff Lindsay Hecox, the BSU
transgender student who hopes to join the school's track and cross
country teams, said: “I just want to run with other girls on the
team. I run for myself, but part of what I enjoy about the sport is
building the relationships with a team. I'm a girl, and the right
team for me is the girls' team.”
Lawyers for the plaintiffs argue that
Idaho's law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, which prohibits
discrimination in schools on the basis of sex.