“Every young person, and especially youth who are transgender, or intersex, should be able to participate fully in sport”

BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE VIA INSTAGRAM

In a massive step forward for support of transgender individuals in the sporting world, LGBTQI athletes such as U.S. football champion Megan Rapinoe and tennis icon Billie Jean King, as well as 174 other female athletes, have signed an amicus brief showing their backing of transgender girls and women playing sports as their gender identity. 

It states that as women and LGBTQI athletes, those who have signed must “submit that all youth deserve an equal opportunity to participate in sports alongside their peers. Such equal opportunity benefits the entire sports community.” 

The brief is a result of a lawsuit brought forward against the state of Idaho, which passed a law in 2020 banning transgender girls and women from competing in school sports as their gender identity. The Department of Justice filed the amicus brief in Hecox v. Little in March 2020 when supporters of the bill said that transgender girls competing in sports is “a new crisis.”

The law also contained other damaging elements to it where female student-athlete’s could have their gender challenged and could be required to “prove” their gender via medical exams. The law states that a doctor could “examine the athlete’s genitalia, hormones, and DNA and make a determination of their gender.” 

The brief signed by various sporting stars calls out this particular bill for its “invasive and medically unnecessary testing” if a girl’s or woman’s gender is challenged by a competitor during sporting activities, stating that: “this law flies in the face of bedrock principles of equality and diversity in sports.” 

The Trump administration defended the law back in November 2020 by saying that they believe it protects cisgender people from transgender athletes. 

Lindsay Hecox, a transgender student and athlete at Boise State University, filed the federal lawsuit against Idaho Governor Brad Little of the Republican Party to overturn this law with help from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and has now successfully garnered the support of various famous women in sports. 

Those who have signed the brief filed in the case “believe that every young person, and especially youth who are transgender, or intersex, should be able to participate fully in sport alongside their peers and gain the benefits that sports participation brings.” 

Other prominent signatories from the women’s sporting world include Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Duggan and Candace Parker.

Billie Jean King wrote: “There is no place in any sport for discrimination of any kind. I am proud to support all transgender athletes who simply want the access and opportunity to compete in the sport they love. The global athletic community grows stronger when we welcome and champion all athletes – including LGBTQI+ athletes.” 

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