On Thursday, a federal judge in West Virginia declared constitutional a state law that prevents transgender females from participating in sports teams for women in public schools.
Ruling Upholds West Virginia Law Prohibiting Transgender from Female Sports
West Virginia Southern District Judge, Judge Joseph Goodwin upheld H.B. 3293, commonly known as the “Save Women’s Sports Bill,” which prohibits transgender female athletes from participating on sports teams for women in public schools.
This ruling has sparked controversy and backlash from the LGBTQ+ community and allies. Additionally, the decision is expected to be appealed and could potentially be taken to a higher court.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph R. Goodwin ruled in favor of the state in its defense of House Bill 2393, called the Save Women's Sports Bill, which was challenged by an 11-year-old male-born student called B.P.J. who sought to play on the girls… https://t.co/9B4p5tFxto
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 6, 2023
Judge Goodwin ruled the state’s definition of “woman” is looked at on the basis of biological sex is closely tied to the government’s interest in ensuring equal athletic opportunities for female athletes and is, therefore, constitutional.
This decision has sparked controversy and backlash, with many in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies condemning the ruling. It is expected that the decision will be appealed.
A recent court ruling was issued in response to a lawsuit brought by 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson, a middle school student who sought to join her school’s girls’ cross-country team.
Pepper-Jackson’s legal team argued she was denied her basic rights under the Equal Protection Clause, a law in federal education that prohibits sex-based discrimination. The ruling has sparked controversy and backlash from the LGBTQ+ community and allies.
“ The order by Judge Joseph R. Goodwin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia means the state can’t enforce the law against Becky Pepper-Jackson, the 11-year-old trans girl who brought the case, while her suit is pending.”https://t.co/AFW86OrIim
— 🏳️⚧️ TransEthics™🧜🏻♀️ #BlackTransLivesMatter (@TransEthics) July 24, 2021
Judge Goodwin: Law Intends to Prevent Transgender Girls from Playing on Girls Sports
Pepper-Jackson’s legal team argued the law, which prohibits transgender females from participating in sports teams for women, was specifically targeted at transgender girls and intended to exclude them from participating in girls’ sports teams.
Judge Goodwin acknowledged the law was intended to prevent transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams, but argued it is constitutional as long as it serves an important government interest.
In his ruling, Judge Goodwin stated he did not want to get involved in defining the terms “girl” or “woman,” as he believes that the courts have no jurisdiction in creating such definitions.
However, he did acknowledge there are intrinsic physical distinctions between males and females. He also pointed out while Pepper-Jackson was able to take puberty blockers, some transgender girls may not receive such medications or may not start taking them until after they have completed puberty.
In his ruling, Judge Goodwin stated that, on average, males tend to outperform females in athletics because of their innate physical differences.
He argued this is not an overgeneralization, but rather a realistic reflection of the average physical differences between males and females.
West Virginia is just one of many states that have implemented restrictions on transgender athletes, with other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Mississippi also enacting similar measures.