- States say their own experience shows that allowing transgender girls on girls’ teams is not unfair
- Republican-led states have previously stepped in to support the law
(Reuters) – A group of Democratic-run states on Thursday asked a federal appeals court to uphold a lower court order allowing a 10-year-old transgender girl in Indiana to enter the state on her school’s girls’ softball team play Lawmakers tried to ban transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams.
“Discrimination against transgender youth — including denial of an opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities consistent with their gender identity — can have serious health and academic consequences,” the 16 states and the District of Columbia said in an amicus brief before March 7 .US District Court of Appeals.
The Republican-controlled Indiana Legislature passed the law in May, overriding the veto of the state’s Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who said it was unnecessary. Supporters of the law say allowing transgender girls to play on girls’ teams because they have a biological advantage is unfair.
The mother of a 10-year-old transgender girl who attends an Indianapolis public school then sued the school district in Indianapolis federal court to prevent it from enforcing the law against her.
The girl, identified as AM, has identified as a girl since she was four, previously played on the girls’ team and is taking puberty-blocking drugs, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit sought an injunction preventing the district from enforcing the law against them.
The Indianapolis School District itself did not contest the injunction, but the state of Indiana intervened to defend its law. US District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson issued an injunction in July, stating in a brief order that the law likely violated Title IX, the federal statute against sex discrimination in sports.
Indiana then appealed to the 7th Circuit, arguing that Title IX only protected biological sex and did not apply to gender identity.
The Democratic states, none of which ban transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams, said in their letter that in their experience “the participation of transgender female students in women’s sports promotes an inclusive school environment that benefits all and does not compromise fairness.” or diminish opportunities for cisgender students.”
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A group of 19 Republican-led states filed their own brief in support of Indiana in September.
Indiana’s law is among a series of measures passed by Republican-led states this year aimed at transgender youth, including measures that shut down discussion of gender identity in the classroom, block access to health care, to protect young people to help with the transition and limit participation in sports.
The case is AM v. Indianapolis Public Schools, 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 22-2332.
For AM: Kenneth Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana
For Indiana: Attorney General Thomas Fisher
For the Democratic States: New York Assistant Solicitor General Mark Grube and others
Factbox: New US state laws for transgender youth
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