Nearly 200 athletes, including sports icon Billie Jean King and WNBA trail-blazer Candace Parker, have spoken out against an Idaho law banning trans and intersex women from participating in women’s sports.
Alongside Athlete Ally and the Women’s Sports Foundation, World Cup Champion Megan Rapinoe, Billie Jean King, Candace Parker and nearly 200 fellow athletes in women’s sports called for the full inclusion of trans and intersex athletes. They signed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to take action against an Idaho law titled ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports’.
In 2020, Idaho became the first state in America to enact a blanket ban on trans and intersex women and girls from participating in women’s sports as well as legalising a mandated sex testing in order to compete. The highly contested ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act’ was signed by Gov. Brad Little.
The ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports’ law was halted in August after the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho granted an injunction. This ruling was sought by the ACLU and the ACLU of Idaho on behalf of two students, however, the State of Idaho has since appealed this decision to the Ninth Court.
Athletes and nonprofit organisations are calling on the Ninth Court to undo the Idaho law banning trans women from competing in a submitted friend-of-the-court brief. Billie Jean King stated, “There is no place in any sport for discrimination of any kind. I’m proud to support all transgender athletes who simply want the access and opportunity to compete in the sport they love. The global athletic community grows stronger when we welcome and champion all athletes – including LGBTQI+ athletes.”
Speaking about the friend-of-the-court brief, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Carl Charles stated, “The dozens of athletes joining this brief – many internationally recognized stars, while others still in college and high school – share one thing in common: a deep understanding and appreciation of the life-long benefits that come from participation in sports.”
“They acknowledge they would not have accessed these benefits without the guarantee of equal opportunity to participate in sports in primary, secondary, and university schools. They recognise the value of inclusive and welcoming sports environments and firmly believe laws like H.B. 500 that single out groups of women and girls from participation in sports harm the entire athletic community,” Charles continued.
I'm proud to have signed on to an amicus brief along with nearly 200 of my peers, @AthleteAlly, @LambdaLegal & @WomensSportsFdn in support of trans athletes & their right to participate in the sport they love. #ProtectTransYouth. https://t.co/jgLuJseeJ2
— Becky Sauerbrunn (@beckysauerbrunn) December 21, 2020
EVERYONE deserves access to sport. Humanity wins when all girls, including trans girls, #KeepPlaying.
We are proud to partner with more than 200 athletes, @AthleteAlly and @LambdaLegal to file an amicus brief this week to oppose #HB500. Learn more here: https://t.co/y49QrpCyQ8 pic.twitter.com/vTd6AD0jUj
— Women's Sports Foundation (@WomensSportsFdn) December 21, 2020
Within the submitted brief, the athletes addressed numerous benefits for young people to participate in sports, including both physical fitness and learning values such as teamwork and sportsmanship. Director of Policy and Programs at Athlete Ally Anne Lieberman expressed, “Sport has the power to change lives, and this amicus brief is a testimony to that power.”
We are proud to sign on to an amicus brief in support of trans youth athletes along with @LambdaLegal, @WomensSportsFdn, @BillieJeanKing, @candace_parker, @mPinoe & many more athletes who support equal access & opportunity in sport. #ProtectTransYouth https://t.co/s8gPPjMXOG
— Athlete Ally (@AthleteAlly) December 21, 2020
Lieberman further shared, “Professional, Olympic and Paralympic athletes have come together to underscore the tremendous benefits sport has brought to their lives, including invaluable lessons of teamwork and discipline, and their support for transgender athletes who simply want the same access and opportunity. Athlete Ally is proud to sign on to this brief, and we are grateful to the partner organizations and athletes who join us in fighting for sport to truly be inclusive for all.”
While addressing the need for full inclusion within sports, Women’s Sports Foundation CEO Deborah Antoine said, “We are proud to join the partner organisations and the many advocate athletes signing this important brief. We firmly believe that humanity wins when everyone, including transgender athletes, are represented and included.”
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