Transgender rights advocates say that while the legislation is unlikely to be successful, it has a chilling effect and can invite attacks against individuals. The United States Civil Liberties Union has pledged to challenge any anti-trans student athlete laws passed.
Legislators in Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee have introduced bills, and perhaps more are in the works, according to the ACLU. Montana House passed its bill on Monday, HB 112, and he will travel to the Senate this week on Helena Independent Record reported.
“While bills attacking trans youth stand no chance of being passed in the United States House, the rhetoric behind them encourages political attacks on advancing trans youth in Montana, the South Dakota, North Dakota and potentially other states, ”Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU, said in a statement to POLITICO.
“Our courts have been clear – federal civil rights laws protect transgender people, including in our schools,” Strangio added. “Trans students are part of our schools and lawmakers who pass these political attacks on trans youth will see the ACLU in court.”
Key context: In 2020, lawmakers introduced 20 bills to ban transgender people from participating in athletics, according to the ACLU. The bills also follow legislative action in Idaho, which was the first state to pass a law banning transgender student athletes from female sports teams. The law is being challenged in federal court by the ACLU.
The Trump administration’s overhaul of Title IX has also played a role in court challenges, as the administration said the rule does not extend to transgender women playing on women’s sports teams. Trump’s Justice Department has played an active role in defending Idaho’s law.
“Allowing biological men to participate in exclusively female sports is fundamentally unfair to female athletes,” former Attorney General William Barr said said in a statement. “Under the Constitution, the equal protection clause allows Idaho to recognize physiological differences between the biological sexes in athletics.”
The education department headed by former secretary Betsy DeVos also refused to extend the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Bostock v. Clayton County, to his interpretation of Title IX.
Before the courts: Two cases are making waves on the transgender student-athlete policy front this spring, one in Idaho and the other in Connecticut.
Hecox v. Little: In August, a federal judge temporarily blocked an Idaho law prohibiting transgender women from participating in school sports and requiring testing if an athlete’s gender is in question. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of track athlete Lindsay Hecox, who is transgender and claims the law violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment and the illegal search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment.
Lawyers on behalf of the state have appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and a ruling is expected this spring.
Soule c. Connecticut Association of Schools, Inc .: the Alliance Defending Freedom is suing the Connecticut High School athletic authority and five school boards over a state policy that allows students to play on teams that match their gender identities. The group claims the policy violates Title IX and has the backing of DeVos’ education department. The department had threatened sports authority and school boards with lawsuits or loss of funding because it determined that the trans athlete policy violated Title IX.
A hearing for the case is scheduled for February.
At Congress: Last week Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) Introduced the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sport Act 2021 “, which would make it illegal for schools that receive federal funds to allow students who were assigned to boys at birth to participate in women’s sports teams. It also states that sex is “recognized only on the basis of a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
Steube’s invoice is a continuation of efforts to “ensure that biological women are not forced to compete against biological men at all levels of athletic competition”. It also pushes forward legislative action in Congress done in the fall.
Other recently introduced bills have not moved forward, but they set the marker for the new session.
The Protect Women’s Sports Act, HR 8932 (116), introduced by former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Would prevent students who are assigned boys at birth to participate in girls. sports teams. Under measure, schools that do not comply would lose access to federal funding.
In the Senate, former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) And Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) And Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) .) proposed the Law on the Protection of Women and Girls in Sport.