Lawsuit Challenges Idaho Ban on Transgender Athletes

Andy Berg Headshot

Idaho’s ban on allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sports has been challenged in a federal court in a joint filing by two civil rights groups that are representing a pair of transgender athletes in the state.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Legal Voice filed the lawsuit contending the law is discriminatory and violates the U.S. Constitution. The groups also contend that the law, which is scheduled to take effect July 1, is a violation of Title IX.

The initial ban was signed into law late last month by governor Brad Little. It received overwhelming support from the Republican-dominated House and Senate, but no support from Democrats.

The current ban applies to all sports teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. Proponents of the law claim it is needed because transgender female athletes have physical advantages.

According to the The Associated Press, the lawsuit contends the law violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because it is discriminatory, and violates the Fourth Amendment’s protections against invasion of privacy because of tests required should an athlete’s gender be challenged.

While backed by the pair of civil right organizations, the suit is being brought by an unnamed Boise-area high school student who is cisgender, and Lindsay Hecox, 19, who will be a sophomore this fall at Boise State University and hopes to qualify for the women’s cross-country team. She competed on the boys’ team at a Moorpark, Calif., high school before transitioning after graduating. 

“I would like to compete as a female,” she said in an AP interview. “We shouldn’t have our privacy invaded. If people started questioning me, I wouldn’t want to be subjected to multiple tests.”

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