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ACLU challenging Idaho’s transgender athletes ban

April 20, 2020 / Athletic Administration
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a federal complaint on behalf of two student-athletes protesting Idaho’s recently signed law that prohibits transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports at the state’s public schools and universities.

House Bill 500 (HB 500), titled the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, also requires sex verification in certain situations, that the ACLU as described as “invasive.”

transgender athletes
Photo: Superdupereditor / Wikimedia Commons

“We’re suing because HB 500 illegally targets women and girls who are transgender and intersex and subjects all female athletes to the possibility of invasive genital and genetic screenings,” Gabriel Arkles, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project, said in a press release. “In Idaho and around the country, transgender people of all ages have been participating in sports consistent with their gender identity for years. Inclusive teams support all athletes and encourage participation — this should be the standard for all school sports.”

An article published in Advocate.com said the ACLU’s complaint was filed on behalf of Lindsay Hecox, 19, a transgender track athlete at Boise State University, and an unnamed 17-year-old cisgender student at Boise High School. Both student-athletes identify as female.

“I just want to run with other girls on the team,” Hecox, who hopes to run track for the Broncos, said in the press release. “I run for myself, but part of what I enjoy about the sport is building the relationships with a team. I’m a girl, and the right team for me is the girls’ team.”

» Related: US Justice Department weighs in on transgender athletes civil suit

Governor Brad Little signed the bill into law on March 30, making Idaho the first state to place an outright ban on transgender athletes in scholastic athletics. The bill was introduced by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, a two-term Republican representing the Idaho Falls area and former women’s basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton.

To read the Advocate’s full story on the ACLU filing a lawsuit to challenge Idaho’s transgender athletes ban, click here.