Judge Rules That Ban on Transgender Athletes Can Proceed

[Photo Credit: By Jeffrey Beall - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26862017]

A federal court reportedly decided on Thursday that West Virginia’s statute prohibiting transgender athletes from competing in girls’ school sports is “not unconstitutional” and may be enforced.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its state branch filed a lawsuit in 2021 on behalf of Becky Pepper-Jackson, an 11-year-old transgender girl who wished to compete in middle school cross-country in Harrison County.

West Virginia and the county’s board of education, as well as their superintendents, were listed as defendants in the complaint.

The decision to uphold the West Virginia law comes as more than a dozen other states have approved legislation prohibiting or restricting transgender participation on the grounds that they have an unfair competitive advantage.

The decision comes as South Carolina legislators prepare to define what it means to be a woman in the state’s constitution.

Madison Kenyon, an Idaho State University athlete, began lobbying for the exclusion of transgender athletes from female sports in December 2021 after losing a competition to a biological man playing against other biological females.

After transgender athlete Lia Thomas won NCAA swimming contests, the University of Pennsylvania’s swim squad faced protests and resignations.

In a statement, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) praised the ruling.

“This short and simple law demands that girls and women get their fair share of opportunities in education, and Title IX’s regulations make it clear that this could be accomplished in school athletic programs by having ‘separate teams for members of each sex’ where the teams are based on competitive skill,” the statement read.

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