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Tipsheet

Trans Teenager Sues School District Over Transgender Sports Ban

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The family of a 14-year-old biological male who identifies as a transgender girl filed a lawsuit against their school district in Illinois over a policy that prohibits trans students from using the girls’ restrooms and locker rooms, as well as competing on the girls’ track team. 

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In a preliminary statement, the lawsuit claims that the Dakota School District ignored laws at the state and national levels to “torment and ostracize the transgender girl,” according to WIFR.

Reportedly, at a school board meeting in April, students and parents expressed concern about the fairness of a male-bodied athlete competing in girls’ sports. As a result, school board officials reversed a policy that allowed “equal opportunities for students based on their gender identities.” 

Illinois lawmakers previously tried to enact legislation to protect girls’ sports, but it did not pass (WIFR): 

Illinois lawmakers introduced legislation to restrict transgender girls from playing on girl’s and women’s teams, but it didn’t pass during the 2021 session. In addition, the Illinois High School Association makes the final say in a trans athlete’s participation. It requires schools to follow a list of procedures concerning transgender participation, including proof of medical documentation, like hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgery. The IHSA will review those documents with medical experts, before it makes a final decision about whether a transgender athlete can compete. Then, it will notify the school with its decision.

In the state of Illinois, the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in education, employment and other places of public accommodation on the basis of several characteristics, including gender identity. At the national level, Title IX, which applies to schools, protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.
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The issue of biological male transgender athletes participating in women’s sports was pushed to the forefront after Will “Lia” Thomas competed on the women’s swim team at University of Pennsylvania last year. Townhall covered how Thomas previously competed on the men’s team for three consecutive seasons. Thomas made headlines for breaking records competing against women and taking home an NCAA Division I title at the NCAA championships in March. 

During the swim season, several of Thomas’ female teammates spoke to news outlets about the situation on the condition of anonymity.  One female UPenn swimmer told The Washington Examiner that Thomas “compares herself to Jackie Robinson” and “mocks” competing on the women’s team, as Townhall covered. In addition, a teammate told Daily Mail that Thomas makes the women’s locker room uncomfortable, which Matt covered.

“It’s definitely awkward because Lia still has male body parts and is still attracted to women,” the swimmer told Daily Mail. “But we were basically told that we could not ostracize Lia by not having her in the locker room and that there’s nothing we can do about it, that we basically have to roll over and accept it, or we cannot use our own locker room.”

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In the aftermath, several states and individual school districts have created policies banning transgender athletes from girls’ sports. 

Last month, a transgender child and parents sued the state of Tennessee over its transgender bathroom policy, which Townhall covered. The child, who was only 8 years old, was a biological male who’d been “living as a girl” since age 6.

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