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Megan Rapinoe, Billie Jean King, More Support Brief for Trans Youth in Sports

An amicus brief was filed Thursday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, urging the court to affirm a lower court ruling to dismiss Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference's (CIAC's) policy that enables transgender students from participating in school sports. 

Tennis legend Billie Jean King, World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe and WNBA stars Layshia Clarendon and Brianna Turner were among 150 athletes who joined Athlete Ally and the Women's Sports Foundation in signing the brief filed by Lambda Legal. 

The brief underscores the multitude of benefits youth should be able to experience by participating in sports—not only in terms of physical fitness—but also through values of teamwork and sportsmanship.

"There is no place in any sport for discrimination of any kind," King said. "I'm proud to support all transgender athletes who simply want the access and opportunity to compete in the sport they love. The global athletic community grows stronger when we welcome and champion all athletes – including LGBTQI+ athletes.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-LGBTQ organization, issued a lawsuit challenging the CIAC's transgender policy in February 2020. The U.S. District Court for Connecticut dismissed the lawsuit in April 2020 but the ADF then appealed the dismissed case to the Second Circuit.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney for Lambda Legal, said the discrimination against trans youth in the United States is wrong and cruel.

"Trans-inclusive sports participation policies benefit not just transgender athletes, but all who participate in school sports," Pagan said.

As professional athletes continue to advocate for transgender athletes in youth sports, several states—Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas—in March signed bills banning transgender athletes from school sports.

In July, a federal court issued an injunction against West Virginia's law banning trans students from participating in school sports. And, in June, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning transgender girls and women from competing in women's scholastic sports. 

Idaho passed the first in the series of bills nationwide that banned trans girls and women from playing women’s sports in K–12 schools and public colleges and universities in 2020.

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