Federal judge temporarily blocks Idaho law banning transgender athletes from female sports

·2 min read

A federal judge temporarily blocked a law in Idaho that prohibited transgender girls and women athletes from participating in the sport that fits with their gender identity on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union announced.

The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law in April.

“This categorical bar to girls and women who are transgender stands in stark contrast to the policies of elite athletic bodies that regulate sports both nationally and globally — including the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the International Olympic Committee — which allow transgender women to participate in female sports teams once specific criteria are met,” U.S District Court Judge David Nye wrote in his ruling.

The law, named the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act or House Bill 500, was the first of its kind to be passed in the United States. It prohibited transgender girls and women from competing in sports consistent with their gender identity, and also allowed for them to have their genitals checked if their biological sex is challenged. The law did not apply to transgender boys or men.

Legislators in several other states, including Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and others, have considered similar bills in recent months, too.

A federal judge also ended an Idaho law earlier this month that had prohibited transgender people in the state from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates.

Athletes write to NCAA over law

Plenty of prominent figures in the sports world slammed the law once it was passed, and a large group of athletes even sent a letter to the NCAA asking it to stop holding NCAA-sponsored events in the state because of it.

More than 45 professional athletes and 400 student-athletes signed the letter to the NCAA, including WNBA star Sue Bird, New York Knicks guard Reggie Bullock, tennis icon Billie Jean King and USWNT star Megan Rapinoe.

“Given Idaho’s adoption of a discriminatory law that directly impacts college athletics, violates NCAA values and undermines the dignity and well-being of NCAA athletics, Idaho schools no longer qualify to host NCAA events,” they wrote in the letter, in part.

“This harms the NCAA’s goals of protecting athlete wellbeing and promoting diversity and inclusion in athletics.”

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is now on a temporary hold pending a full trial.

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