ACLU, other organizations file lawsuit against transgender sports ban

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – There are now new details on a lawsuit filed to stop the participation of transgender girls in public school sports in the Mountain State.

Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and others filed the suit on behalf of an 11-year old girl living in Harrison County. The action comes after Gov. Jim Justice signed into law a bill that passed in this year’s legislature.

The ACLU of West Virginia and two other organizations filed the lawsuit against the state, the Harrison County Boards of Education and the superintendents of both school systems. The girl, identified only by the initials BPJ, used to be a cheerleader in elementary school and wishes to follow her family’s legacy in running.

“There are probably transgender kids who are playing sports now, and just people didn’t realize it because they’re like normal kids,” Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of Fairness West Virginia said.

The lawsuit states the bill was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor based on “…unfounded stereotypes, false scientific claims and baseless fear and misunderstanding of girls who are transgender.”

“The reason I think it’s a fight is old versus new. The newer generation is more accepting, more open and the old generation, the bible, religion plays into this,” Natasha Kerensky, Candidate for West Virginia Delegate said.

The suit also questions the necessity of the law, stating its sponsors and Governor Justice have publicly said “…there is no evidence of any ‘problem’ caused by girls who are transgender participating in sports teams in West Virginia.”

“What’s so harmful about these laws is it further isolates them by preventing them from following their friends into the sports of their choice,” Schneider said.

33 other states are considering similar legislation. Five have already passed laws or executive orders banning transgender girls from competing in public school sports.        

On the other hand, advocates say they think the ACLU has a very good chance at winning. Federal courts in Idaho and Connecticut have already struck down similar laws.

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