Trump Administration Targets Transgender Student Athletes in Connecticut Court Filing | National Center for Transgender Equality

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Trump Administration Targets Transgender Student Athletes in Connecticut Court Filing

While the nation’s attention is focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration on Wednesday intervened in a federal civil right lawsuit in Connecticut that would ban transgender student athletes from participating in sports.

In a US Department of Justice filing, US Attorney General William Barr put the federal government on the record in opposition to a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy that allows trans athletes to play sports with their peers.

“Our country faces an unprecedented public health crisis, but the Trump administration and Attorney General Barr remain focused of banning transgender girls from participating in school sports,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It’s unclear why the Attorney General rushed to file this brief in a case he’s not a part of, when schools are closed for a historic emergency and sports seasons are canceled. While the Department of Justice’s brief repeats its by-now familiar and clearly incorrect argument that federal law offers no protection to transgender youth, the brief also implies that even allowing trans students to play, as most states do, is “in tension” with federal law. Our county needs to come together during this challenging and dangerous time, but the Trump administration and Attorney General Barr are focused on division and unnecessarily harming transgender student athletes.”

The Trump administration filing follows coordinated efforts by lawmakers in a number of states to ban transgender girls  from playing school sports. The Idaho Legislature became the first in the country to pass an outright ban on transgender student athletes. To date, Idaho Gov. Brad Little has not taken action on the ban, which he must sign or veto by next Tuesday.

“We urge Gov. Little to do the right thing and veto this harmful legislation and protect his legacy as governor,” Keisling said.

More than 50 national, regional and state women’s rights and other organizations have signed onto a letter urging Gov. Little to veto the legislation, including the Women’s Sports Foundation, National Women’s Law Center, and Girls, Inc. Last week, Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe joined a chorus of women’s sports leaders urging a veto.

Idaho House Bill 500 bans transgender student athletes from participating in sports, which is counter to current policies set by the Idaho High School Activities Association. 

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