A judge in Utah temporarily blocked a law on Friday that would have prevented transgender students from participating in high school sports on teams that correspond with their gender identity, opening the door for transgender girls in Utah to participate in sports this fall.
Judge Keith Kelly of the Third District Court ruled that the defendants “do not offer persuasive reasons to categorically ban all transgender girls from competing on girls’ teams,” issuing a preliminary injunction that has been hailed by the three transgender girls who brought the suit and by LGBTQ+ advocates.
“This is a win not only for my child but for all girls in this state,” said Jean Noe, a fictitious plaintiff in the case. This legislation is predicated on harmful generalizations about girls.
She continued, “I am grateful the court has paused this dangerous law and that, at least for the time being, all Utah children can know that they are valued and supported.”
Defense attorneys for the Utah High School Activities Association, Granite and Jordan school districts, and the superintendents of those districts argued that the ban does not discriminate against girls because it is directed at “biological boys.”
In contrast, Kelly, who was appointed by former Republican governor Gary Herbert, stated that “the ban singles out transgender girls and categorically bars them from competing on girls’ sports teams.”
“At the same time,” he continued, “other girls are free to compete.” The treatment is obviously unfavorable, as stated.
INCREASED reliance on state constitutions. The Utah Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s ban on transgender girls participating in school athletics likely violates the equal protection guarantees under the Utah Constitution, and has therefore been stayed. pic.twitter.com/q36GZ1rhCR The following is a transcript of a tweet by: Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis). On this date in 2022, August 19
With the injunction in place, the ban cannot be enforced while the remaining litigation in the case is heard in state courts.
Our daughter just wants to be able to join the team she loves and play with her friends, she said. The decision made today allows her to do just that.
Plaintiff Jenny Roe, a 16-year-old senior in the Granite School District this year, stated in a written statement to the court that she played volleyball as a junior and would like to do so again, and that she would also like to try out for the basketball team.
Utah’s ban on transgender athletes was halted by a federal judge. In the words of one transgender girl’s parent: “it’s a victory for girls across the state, not just for my kid. This legislation is predicated on harmful generalizations about girls.” https://t.co/F3ZWekGKk0 This is a retweet from: Gillian Branstetter (@GBBranstetter). On this date in 2022, August 19
According to Roe’s statement, she had a hard time making friends and felt lonely at school until she started playing volleyball.
Once she became a part of the team, she found a group of friends she enjoyed spending time with and who supported her. “Actually, I’m quite terrified by this law. I’ve been really down because I can’t bear to think about missing my final volleyball season with my team.”
Roe continued, “If I can’t play with my team, I’m worried that I won’t want to go to classes or school.”
Now that the ban has been temporarily lifted, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, the state will move forward with its secondary procedure for vetting transgender female athletes. It would establish a panel to decide which transgender athletes would be allowed to participate in sports. The panelists are prepared to look at factors like a player’s wingspan, weight, and height (as well as whether or not the player is using hormone blockers) to determine whether or not a transgender girl has an unfair advantage in a sport because of being born male. Not everyone agrees that this is the best plan of action, and some have even suggested that conducting such measurements on teenagers is unethical.
Eighteen states, including Utah, prohibit transgender students from participating in sports that match their gender identity, as reported by the Movement Advancement Project.
In June, the Biden administration proposed new rules prohibiting discrimination against trans students and restoring Title IX protections that were gutted during the Trump administration. This comes as states under Republican control move to roll back transgender student rights.
Two days prior to the Utah injunction, local media reported that the parents of cisgender girls who placed second and third to another cis female athlete filed a complaint with the Utah High School Activities Association expressing suspicions that the winner is transgender, a concern the body then secretly investigated by digging through her records dating back to kindergarten.
After a big win at the state level, the school is wondering if the athlete is transgender. Some people have criticized the athlete, saying, “She doesn’t look feminine enough.” If it means preventing even one trans athlete from competing, they will resort to terrorizing cis girls as well. https://t.co/sM0RS74gwk By Frances Larina (@Frances Larina) Date: August 18, 2022
On Thursday, Republican Utah Governor Spencer Cox responded to the parents’ complaint by saying, “making up allegations like that are pretty disturbing to me.” Cox’s veto of the state Legislature’s trans athlete ban was overridden in March.
He continued, “My goodness, we’re living in this world where we’ve become sore losers and we’re looking for any reason why our kid lost.”
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