state West Virginia Schools ATHLETICS Courts Trans track Transgender state West Virginia

Appeals court blocks West Virginia law banning trans athletes

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Becky Pepper Jackson The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today (Tuesday, April 16) voted to block a West Virginia law banning transgender student athletes from playing on teams consistent with their gender identity, finding the law violates the rights of transgender students under the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX.

The challenge against the law was filed on behalf of B.P.J., a 13-year-old transgender girl and middle school track athlete.

Judge Toby Heytens wrote in today’s ruling that “offering B.P.J. a ‘choice’ between not participating in sports and participating only on boys teams is no real choice at all.

The defendants cannot expect that B.P.J. will countermand her social transition, her medical treatment and all the work she has done with her schools, teachers and coaches for nearly half her life by introducing herself to teammates, coaches and even opponents as a boy.” Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project called the ruling “a tremendous victory for our client, transgender West Virginians and the freedom of all youth to play as who they are.” Block noted that the court’s ruling is the latest in a string of federal courts ruling against such bans. “This case is fundamentally about the equality of transgender youth in our schools and our communities and we’re thankful the Fourth Circuit agreed,” he said.

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