Federal Judge Says Idaho Cannot Ban Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports Teams


“This is a victory for all the women and girls of Idaho. Trans people have their place in sport, ”wrote the American Civil Liberties Union, which provided legal representation in the case.

Governor Brad Little signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” in March, which would not allow athletes to compete on a women’s team without first checking that person’s “internal and external reproductive anatomy” if their gender is disputed. But Judge David Nye allowed a preliminary injunction motion against the act on Monday.

CNN has contacted Little’s office for comment.

From South Dakota to Tennessee to Connecticut, transgender athletes have fought in recent years against legislation to limit their participation based on their gender identity. Many argue that such policies violate Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law in education known to have leveled women’s chances in sport.

Nye said Idaho did not provide sufficient reasons for the law to exist.”The state has failed to identify a legitimate interest served by law that pre-existing rules in Idaho did not already address, other than an invalid interest in fully excluding transgender women and girls from female sports, regardless of their physiological characteristics, ”Nye wrote.

The law was challenged by transgender cross-country athlete Lindsay Hecox, a student at Boise State University.

A second plaintiff in the case is a 17-year-old cisgender athlete – not named in the lawsuit because she is underage – who fears being forced to invasively ‘prove’ her gender because of her athletic build and ” masculine ‘personal traits.

Justice Nye agreed that this was unfair and that “being the subject of a sexual dispute is in itself humiliating.” The law does not have a similar requirement for male athletes, Nye noted.

The preliminary injunction is not the last word in the lawsuit, but Nye said in his 87-page order “plaintiffs are likely to succeed in establishing that the law is unconstitutional.”


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