Fighting the Repressive System: Idaho judge rules that transgender athletes have the right to compete in women’s sports teams


Judge Nye becomes the second federal judge this month to reject a new anti-transgender law in Idaho.


By James Braham

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 9 of VARSITY News.


On Monday, the 17th of August 2020, a federal judge in Idaho published a temporary injunction which would prevent Idaho from passing a law banning transgender girls and women from participating in women’s sports.


US District Judge David Nye has given hope to LGBTQ+ advocates who have challenged this form of legislation in court. The ruling paves the way for the participation of transgender athletes without the patriarchal nature of the global sporting system. This law will apply to both college and secondary school systems in Idaho.


The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two students at Boise State University, Lindsey Hecox & an anonymous student. According to ACLU, Hecox is transgender and is wanting to compete for a place in the cross-country team. The anonymous student is cisgender and “concerned about being subjected to the law’s invasive ‘sex verification’ testing”.


According to CNN, Governor Brad Little had signed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act back in March. An athlete would have to verify their own “internal and external reproductive anatomy” if her sex is disputed. This would prevent athletes participating on a women’s team. Hence, the preliminary injunction was issued by Nye in response to yet another move by Idaho to push forward an anti-transgender law in the state.


Nye had the following to say, “In making this determination, it is not just the constitutional rights of transgender girls and women athletes at issue but, as explained [in the decision], the constitutional rights of every girl and woman athlete in Idaho. Because the Court finds Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in establishing the Act is unconstitutional as currently written, it must issue a preliminary injunction at this time pending trial on the merits.”


Additionally, Hecox exclaimed that she felt a “major sense of relief” – “I’m a girl, and the right team for me is the girls’ team. It’s time the court recognise that and I am so glad that the court’s ruling does.”


Simultaneously, another federal judge rejected the Trump administration’s rollback of an Obama-era legislation which prohibits discrimination health care against patients who are transgender. The federal system continues to be challenged in all shapes and sizes.


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