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U.S. Court of Appeals in Pasadena Holds Hearing on Transgender Sports Ban

Published on Monday, May 3, 2021 | 2:01 pm
Plaintiff Lindsay Hecox (Image courtesy ACLU)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena was scheduled to hold a hearing Monday on a law passed in Idaho banning transgender athletes from competing on female sports teams.

Last year, Idaho became the first state in the nation to pass legislation banning transgender athletes from taking part in girls’ and women’s sports. Twenty similar bills are currently wending their way through courts in nearly two dozen states.

“If the sex of any female student athlete — whether transgender or not — is disputed, the student must undergo a potentially invasive sex verification process,” according to court documents. “This provision burdens all female athletes with the risk and embarrassment of having to ‘verify’ their ‘biological sex’ in order to play women’s sports. Similarly situated men and boys — whether transgender or not — are not subject to the dispute process because Idaho’s law does not restrict individuals who wish to participate on men’s teams.

The case centers on 20-year-old transgender athlete Lindsay Hecox, who was barred from the women’s track team at Boise State University.

Hecox is seeking an injunction against the law pending a trial.

According to court documents, the court will be required to decide whether the law violates Title IX or is unconstitutional.

Title IX was passed by Congress as a followup to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to end discrimination in various fields based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in the areas of employment and public accommodation. However, it did not prohibit sex discrimination against persons employed at educational institutions.

A parallel law, Title VI, was enacted in 1964 to prohibit discrimination in federally funded private and public entities. It covered race, color and national origin, but excluded sex.

Due to a popular misconception, many think of the law as a sports equity act that gives girls the right to try and compete on boys’ teams.

According to Newsmax, Chase Strangio, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which opposes the ban, said the attack is part of a “nonstop attack on trans kids.”

“This is very much a solution in search of a problem,” Strangio said. “We have trans kids already experiencing so much discrimination.”

The Trump administration supported the Idaho ban. It is now being opposed by President Joe Biden.

“What I want to do is just run, have a team, have friends on the team just supporting me,” Hecox said in a video released by the ACLU. “I am not trying to take away girls’ scholarships or trophies or places. I just want to be one of them. I am one of them.”

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