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Federal Judge Blocks Arizona Law Banning Transgender Athletes from Women’s Sports Teams

TUCSON, Arizona — A federal judge Thursday temporarily blocked Arizona from enacting a law that would bar transgender girls from playing on all-girls’ school sports teams.

A judge in Tucson has granted a preliminary injunction allowing the state’s Protect Women in Sports Act, passed last year by the Republican-controlled legislature, to proceed with a lawsuit filed on behalf of two transgender girls.

The lawsuit alleges that the law violates Title 9 of the Federal Code, a law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded schools, and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Public Instruction Superintendent Tom Horn, a defendant in the lawsuit, said the decision would be appealed.

“This will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and they will rule in our favor,” Horn said in a statement.

Arizona is one of several states and some school districts to pass laws limiting student access to school sports teams and other facilities based on the gender assigned at birth rather than gender identity.

Arizona plaintiffs include a 15-year-old volleyball player and an 11-year-old boy who wants to play women’s soccer, basketball and cross-country. In court filings, they are named Jane Doe and Megan Law.

Both children’s parents said they were happy with the court’s decision.

“We are relieved that the judge ignored the misconceptions and harmful rhetoric used to demonize transgender girls.

Arizona officials said they passed Congress because the law was intended to be fair.

“Title IX was meant to give girls an equal chance to play sports. It would be a disadvantage for girls to have real boys playing in women’s sports,” Horn told the Associated Press when the lawsuit was filed in April. “There was a lot of news about girls who worked hard to excel in sports and were devastated when they had to compete with biological boys and found they couldn’t do it.”

But Judge Jennifer G. Zipps, in issuing the preliminary injunction, said there was no evidence that allowing children on puberty-preventing drugs for gender dysphoria to play on women’s teams would provide an athletic advantage or pose a safety risk to other players.

Rather, the judge said children would be “painful and humiliating” and would “suffer severe and irreparable mental, physical and emotional harm” if the law were applied because they could not play on a youth sports team.

“There is consensus among medical institutions that gender identity is innate and cannot be changed by psychotherapy or medical treatment,” the ruling said.

“Plaintiff’s mental health depends on being a girl in every aspect of her life,” the judge wrote.

LGBTQ+ rights advocates say legislation like the one passed in Arizona and across the country is an anti-transgender attack masquerading as child protection, using transgender people as political pawns to galvanize Republican voters ahead of the election.

Courts blocked some actions in several states, including Wisconsin last week.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times LLC. Federal Judge Blocks Arizona Law Banning Transgender Athletes from Women’s Sports Teams

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