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Arizona Parents Sue Over Transgender Sports Ban

— April 20, 2023

The lawsuit alleges that Arizona’s broad ban on transgender girls participating in female sports could adversely impact students’ self-esteem and development.

Two Arizona families have filed a lawsuit challenging a state law prohibiting transgender girls from participating in most school sports.

According to FOX News, the complaint was filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Tucson.

The lawsuit broadly challenges elements of Arizona Senate Bill 1165, which restricts participation in school sports on the basis of biological sex.

FOX News reports that two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit—an 11-year-old, and a 15-year-old—are listed pseudonymously as Jane Doge and Megan Roe, respectively.

The parents of the children fear that state law could impact their daughters’ self-esteem and development.

“Jane will be very upset if she is not allowed to play sports on a girls’ team. Jane knows this would be because she is transgender, and I worry about how that will affect her self-esteem and her confidence,” Doe’s mother said in a statement.

“Jane will not receive all the positive benefits that school sports provide. This includes the obvious physical benefits, but also social and emotional benefits of playing with other kids, learning how to win and lose, and having coaches and other adults who support the team,” Doe’s mother added.

Roe’s mother said she worries that Arizona’s restrictions on athletic activities could impact her daughter’s social development.

LGBTQ flag. Image via Quote Catalog, Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.

“No parent ever wants their kid to lose out on opportunities and experiences that can help them grow as people,” Roe’s mother said in a statement. “Sports provide all kinds of benefits to kids, and it is very upsetting that they may be completely cut off for my child.”

The parents are being represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Attorneys for the families say that Senate Bill 1165 violates the Equal Protection Clause under the United States Constitution and federal Title IX statutes.

However, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, called the parents’ logic “backwards.”

“Title IX was aimed at giving girls equal opportunities for playing sports. When a biological boy plays in a girls’ sport, it disadvantages the girls,” Horne told The Associated Press. “There have been lots of news stories about girls who worked hard to excel at their sports, found they could not when they had to compete against biological boys and were devastated by that.”

Horne further reiterated his point, saying that, in general, biological males have physiological advantages over their biological female peers.

“The whole reason we have boys teams and girls teams in virtually every sport is because boys do have an advantage and it’s not fair to expect girls to compete against boys that have greater muscle mass and greater bone density,” Horne said.

Nevertheless, National Center for Lesbian Rights attorneys have said that Arizona’s law “cannot survive constitutional scrutiny.”


Arizona families file lawsuit challenging state law ban on transgender participation in school sports

Parents of transgender athletes file lawsuit over Arizona transgender athlete ban

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