The rights of transgender student-athletes must be protected from sexual discrimination, harmful legal targeting and sexual assault, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the National Women’s Law Center, attorneys from Hogan Lovells and 60 other organizations argued today in an amicus brief filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The brief was filed in response to Hecox v. Little.
In 2020, the Idaho Legislature passed, and the governor signed, an anti-trans law called HB 500. The harmful law bans women and girls who are transgender and many women and girls who are intersex from participating in sports. Governor Brad Little signed the law, making Idaho famous not only for its potatoes and gems but also now internationally famous for its anti-trans bigotry. The state also became the first to impose an outright ban on participation of transgender athletes and also allows any person to challenge a person’s gender, further subjecting them to trauma and physical tests.
The law, however, was temporarily blocked by a U.S. district court, finding that the law violated students’ equal protection rights. The state has appealed that ruling.
“If some members of the Idaho Legislature and the governor sought to improve the lives of all women and girls by endorsing the ill-conceived and bigoted HB 500, they have failed and actually accomplished the exact opposite,” said Bryanna Jenkins, legal fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Sex and race discrimination pervade the history of athletics. HB 500 constitutes another chapter in this shameful history and is a law that will have a particularly devastating impact on women and girls of color.”
Boise State University student Lindsay Hecox, who is a transgender woman, and one other unnamed high school student, who is cisgender, are represented by the ACLU and are challenging HB500 on constitutional and statutory grounds, saying it violates their 14th Amendment rights guaranteeing equal protection under the law, rights secured under the Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, and the 4th Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.
Read the brief here.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.