A federal judge on Wednesday
temporarily blocked a law that prohibits transgender athletes from
competing on girls' and women's sports teams.
House Bill 3293 bans participation at
the elementary, high school, and college levels.
The plaintiff in the case is
11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson.
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU), Lambda Legal, and the ACLU of West Virginia filed the lawsuit
on behalf of Pepper-Jackson, who wanted to try out for her school's
girls cross-country team.
Lawyers argued that the law, which took
effect on July 1, violates the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, which
prohibits sex-based discrimination.
“While this case is pending,
Defendants are enjoined from enforcing Section 18-2-25d against
B.P.J.,” Judge Joseph R. Goodwin Wrote. “She will be permitted to
sign up for and participate in school athletics in the same way as
her girl classmates.”
In a statement, Pepper-Jackson said
that she was excited to try out for her school team.
“I am excited to know that I will be
able to try out for the girls cross-country team and follow in the
running shoes of my family,” she said. “It hurt that the State of
West Virginia would try to block me from pursuing my dreams. I just
want to play.”
Cross-country team practices at
Bridgeport Middle School where Pepper-Jackson will be attending begin
this month. Pepper-Jackson was informed she would not be allowed to
try out because of the law in May.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a
Republican, signed the bill into law in April. A federal court last
year blocked a similar law in Idaho.