Athletes, ladies’s and civil rights teams assist Idaho transgender athlete’s lawsuit

Lindsay Hecox – Photo: American Civil Liberties Union.

A coalition of hundreds of athletes, coaches and corporations, as well as civil rights, law and medical experts, has voted in favor of a lawsuit seeking to repeal an Idaho law that bans transgender athletes from competing based on their gender identity.

Coalition members have submitted various legal information to aid repeal of the law passed by Idaho Gov. earlier this year. Brad Little (R) was signed but has since been stopped by a federal judge. The coalition and local LGBTQ advocates claim the law is discriminatory and violates the privacy rights not only of transgender athletes, but also of cisgender athletes who do not adhere to stereotypical gender norms.

The two plaintiffs challenging the law are Lindsay Hecox, a Boise State University student who wants to try the school’s cross country team, and Jane Doe, a senior at Boise High School who is cisgender, but worries that she will be subject to the law requiring students suspected of being transgender to undergo invasive gender testing.

One of the documents filed in the case was submitted by Athlete Ally, an organization campaigning for the inclusion of LGBTQ people in sport, and the Women’s Sports Foundation. The contract was co-signed by more than 175 female Olympic, professional, college and high school athletes who are committed to the participation of all athletes regardless of their gender identity.

“There is no place in any sport for discrimination of any kind,” said signatory Billie Jean King in a statement. “I take pride in supporting all transgender athletes who want easy access and the opportunity to compete in the sport they love. The global sports community will grow stronger when we welcome and stand up for all athletes, including LGBTQI + athletes. “

Other signatories are the two-time women’s soccer world champion Megan Rapinoe; Candace Parker, two-time Olympic gold medalist in women’s basketball; Megan Duggan, a retired hockey player and former member of Team USA; Esther Lofgren, an Olympic rowing medalist gold medalist; and Katie Sowers, a lesbian offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers soccer team.

“The dozen of athletes who are joining this mandate – many internationally recognized stars while others are still in college and high school – have one thing in common: a deep understanding and appreciation of the lifelong benefits of participating in the sport “said Carl Charles, a Lambda Legal attorney who represents plaintiffs in the Idaho case,” said in a statement. “They recognize the value of inclusive and welcoming sports environments and firmly believe that laws like HB 500, which exclude groups of women and girls from participating in sport, harm the entire sports community.”

“The fight for equality is the cornerstone of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or ability, all girls and women deserve the opportunity to play, compete and lead, ”said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, in a statement. “We are proud to join the partner organizations and the many supporters who sign this important mandate. We strongly believe that humanity wins when everyone, including transgender athletes, is represented and involved. “

Connected: Idaho Republican defends law banning transgender athletes from women’s sports

Another letter from a court friend in support of Hecox and Doe comes from over 60 women’s and civil rights groups, including the League of Women Voters, represented by the National Women’s Law Center and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

Dr. Deborah Turner, president of the United States’ League of Women Voters and a practicing gynecologist for more than 35 years, described Idaho law as a “egregious example of sex discrimination” that could cause “permanent harm and trauma” to those who who are affected by it. In particular, she expressed horror at loopholes in the law that would allow opposing athletes or coaches to claim that a competing athlete is transgender regardless of whether or not her claim is valid, resulting in the athletes concerned being incapacitated for so long until they undergo genetic testing.

“Gender testing has long been used to target black and brown women athletes, and this law follows this appalling practice that will disproportionately appeal to women and girls of skin color,” Turner said in a statement. “The League is appalled and ashamed that this invasion of privacy, which is known to have persistent negative mental and physical effects on individuals, could become law in our country.”

“Transgender and intersex people are harmed by enforcement of this law, as well as cisgender women who must be recognized for their physical appearance,” Celina Stewart, chief attorney for the United States’ League of Women Voters, said in a statement. “No woman or girl should endure this kind of sexual control by their peers or trusted adults, especially in a school environment that is designed to be enriched and fair. This law does not protect women and contradicts the stated goal of the league to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all. “

See also: The Trump administration defends Idaho’s anti-trans athletes law

Sunu Chandy, the legal director of the National Women’s Law Center, said the law was “undoubtedly gender discrimination,” claiming it violated both the US Constitution and Title IX, a federal law that prohibits gender discrimination should.

“Our letter shows how this type of monitoring of bodies leads to the fact that all women and girls are addressed who do not meet the expectations of others with regard to gender stereotypes in their gender presentation, and that black and brown student athletes are also addressed,” says Chandy said in a statement. “We urge the court to uphold the decision to end this illegal law that harms all women and girls.”

Additional briefs filed in court include one filed by three former Idaho attorneys general; signed by a number of LGBTQ-friendly companies; one signed by trainers and administrators; and one more from the American Medical Association and other leading medical and mental health associations.

A court date for oral disputes has not yet been set in the present case. Idaho is currently appealing the federal judge’s injunction preventing the law from being enforced in the US 9th Court of Appeals.

Hecox, the lead plaintiff, thanked all those who had written pleadings in support of their case.

“I love to run and part of my enjoyment of the sport is building relationships with a team. I am a girl and the right team for me is the girls team, ”she said in a prepared statement. “It means a lot to me that so many people are on my side and support me.”

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