A federal appeals court is due to review on Monday a law banning transgender athletes from participating in women’s and women’s sports, an issue that has become highly politicized in the United States.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in California will hear arguments in a case challenging a law passed last year in the western state of Idaho.
Idaho was the first US state to pass a law prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in female or female sports.
The plaintiff in this landmark case is Lindsay Hecox, a 20-year-old transgender student-athlete at Boise State University who is prohibited by law from competing on the women’s track and field team.
Bills similar to those passed in Idaho can be found at different stages of the legislative process in about 20 other Republican-dominated states across the country.
Ahead of Monday’s court of appeal hearing in Pasadena, Calif., Former Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner added her voice to the debate.
Jenner, who won a gold in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics and stepped out as a woman in 2015, said she was against transgender girls participating in women’s sports.
Jenner, 71, who is currently running for governor of California, said it was a “question of fairness.”
“This is why I oppose trans biological boys who participate in female sports at school,” Jenner told TMZ. “It’s just not fair. And we need to protect girls’ sport in our schools. “
Jenner supported Donald Trump’s candidacy for the 2016 presidential election and is running as a Republican for the presidency in the state’s recall election.
– ‘I am one of them’ –
LGBTQ group Equality California denounced Jenner’s comments as political postures.
“Here are the facts: @Caitlyn_Jenner is willing to sacrifice the health and well-being of the children of #trans to win votes,” he said.
Jenner’s “fairness” argument has been used in Idaho and other states and has fractured the country along political lines.
Chase Strangio, an attorney for the civil rights group ACLU, which fights against the ban, said he was part of a “non-stop attack on trans children.”
“It’s really a solution looking for a problem,” Strangio said. “We already have trans children who face so much discrimination. “
A district court blocked Idaho’s bill by sending it to the California Court of Appeals.
“It seems transgender women haven’t and couldn’t ‘move’ cisgender women into athletics to any great extent,” Judge David Nye said.
“Although the male to female ratio is around one to one, less than one percent of the population is transgender,” Nye said. “Presumably, that means about half a percent of the population is made up of transgender women. “
The Trump administration had supported the ban on Idaho but is opposed by the government of Democrat Joe Biden.
A coalition of athletes rallied behind Hecox, the Boise State University student who is the plaintiff in the case.
Among them are former tennis champion Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe of the World Cup-winning women’s soccer team and WNBA star Candace Parker.
“What I want to do is just run, have a team, have friends on the team who support me,” Hecox said in a video posted by the ACLU. “I’m not trying to take away scholarships, trophies or places from girls.
“I just want to be one of them. I am one of them. “
© 2021 AFP