Idaho Governor Brad Little recently signed H.B. 500, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” limiting participation in women’s and girls’ sports to biological females. The law affects all Idaho public schools and keeps boys who think they are girls from taking opportunities and medals from female athletes.
The American Civil Liberties Union, along with other legal groups, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the act, which was scheduled to take effect July 1, 2020. The suit alleges that “H.B. 500 impermissibly discriminates on the basis of sex and transgender status and invades fundamental privacy rights.”
Blaine Conzatti, Advocacy Director for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho (FPA-Idaho), told The Daily Citizen: “I’m disappointed the ACLU would seek to disenfranchise girls from sports designed for their benefit and flourishing. It is fundamentally unfair to force girls to compete against biological boys – boys who have many physiological advantages. If we want to preserve athletics opportunities for our girls, we need to make sure that girls’ sports are limited to those who are actually girls.”
The ACLU’s challenge was filed on behalf of two plaintiffs. The first, Lindsay Hecox, was born male but lives as a woman. Hecox, a freshman at Boise State University, planned to try out for the girls’ cross-country team next year.
The complaint says that “Lindsay’s health and well-being depends on being able to live and express herself as a woman” and goes on to add: “Running on a men’s team is not an option for Lindsay. She is not a man, and as a woman who is transgender, it would be painful and humiliating to be forced to be the only woman on a men’s team.”
The other plaintiff in the case is 17-year-old “Jane Doe,” who is not transgender. She was born female and plans to try out for the Boise High School girls’ soccer team next August, in her senior year.
Idaho students are already required to have a physical exam before participating in athletic activities. Presumably, doctors who perform the exams already take note of the sex of their patients.
Even though she is biologically a girl, the ACLU alleges that Jane Doe fears that opponents might challenge her because she “does not commonly wear skirts or dresses, and most of her closest friends are boys.” The young woman “worries that one of her competitors might decide to ‘dispute’ her sex just to try to keep her from playing.”
According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe “does not want to have to go through an invasive or uncomfortable test just to prove that she meets the state’s new criteria for being deemed a girl.” She believes “it is unfair that girls will potentially have to go through invasive physical examinations to play sports, when boys will not.”
Evidently Jane Doe has never seen a doctor conduct a physical exam on a high school boy: “Turn your head and cough, please.”
Transgender activists and their allies have redefined “sex” – being male or female – to include someone’s chosen sense of “gender identity.” The lawsuit reflects this gender ideology, calling transgender individuals like Hecox, born male, “a subset of women and girls” and referring to “women who are transgender.”
Stephanie Curry, an attorney and Policy Manager for Family Policy Alliance, told us, “It is basic common sense to most Idahoans, boys competing against girls in most sports is fundamentally unfair, no matter what the boy says his feelings are about his sex.”
“Unfortunately, we are in a time when we need the legislature to say sex-based sports isn’t a stereotype, it’s a biological reality and protecting that reality has a significant impact on the lives of our daughters,” she added.
In an interview with the Idaho Press, Governor Little defended the legislation, saying, “I think that the issue is the girl’s right to participate without having to be concerned about who they’re competing with. And that’s why I signed the bill.”
Conzatti agrees, and he hopes that fairness and common sense will prevail: “There is nothing exclusionary about this law. It simply protects opportunities for female athletes by making clear that women’s sports are for women, and men’s sports are for men. Biological males can still play in men’s sports.”
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