Hecox v. Little
Public Justice joined an amici brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit in support of the plaintiff-appellees, two student-athletes who are challenging an Idaho law that bans transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. The law requires proof of “biological sex” and uses criteria that intentionally disqualifies all women and girls who are transgender, and many who are intersex. Laws like this are detrimental to all women and girls—trans- and cisgender alike. By requiring “proof” of sex, Idaho’s law threatens to intrude upon the privacy and bodily autonomy of all women and girls engaged in student athletics.
The amici brief focuses on the ways in which the Idaho law violates Title IX, particularly in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which held that Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex encompasses discrimination based on gender identity. Excluding all transgender women and girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity is unlawful sex-based discrimination, and it has detrimental physical and psychological impacts on these athletes. The brief also discusses how policies like Idaho’s create particular harms for Black and brown girls and women, explaining that the law is likely to be enforced most harshly against Black and brown girls, transgender and cisgender alike.
The district court had ruled in favor of the student-athletes challenging Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, issuing a preliminary injunction to stop the state’s enforcement of the Act. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.