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Lesbian icons Megan Rapinoe and Billie Jean King urge court to strike down Idaho’s anti-trans school sports ban

Nick Duffy December 22, 2020
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Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe

Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe (Getty)

US soccer champion Megan Rapinoe and tennis legend Billie Jean King have backed a challenge to Idaho’s new anti-transgender sporting law.

The lesbian sporting heroes signed onto an amicus brief urging a federal appeals court to toss out the bill rammed through by Idaho Republicans earlier this year, which bans schools and colleges from letting transgender girls from taking part in girls’ sports.

Rapinoe and King are just two of the 176 current and former athletes in women’s sports who signed the friend-of-the-court brief, rebutting claims the law is intended to “protect” sport by systemically excluding transgender people.

Other prominent signatories from the women’s sporting world include Becky Sauerbrunn, Candace Parker, Meghan Duggan, Layshia Clarendon and Katie Sowers.

The brief makes clear the signatories “dispute claims by proponents of Idaho’s discriminatory law that it somehow benefits women athletes”, asserting that it “in fact, harms women athletes through exclusion, discrimination, and denial of the benefits that flow from participation in sport”.

US soccer champion Megan Rapinoe.
US soccer champion Megan Rapinoe. (Getty/Brad Smith)

It continues: “All amici [signatories of the brief] believe that every young person, and especially youth who are transgender, or intersex, should be able to participate fully in sport alongside their peers and gain the benefits that sports participation brings.

“Amici’s experiences as athletes leads them to oppose laws like HB 500 because of their negative impact on all women and girls. HB 500 bans all women and girls who are transgender, and many who are intersex, from playing school sports in Idaho at any level.

“The bill would also force all women and girl athletes to endure invasive and medically unnecessary testing if anyone ‘disputes’ their sex. This law flies in the face of bedrock principles of equality and diversity in sports.”

Anti-trans law ‘harms all women in sport’, court told.

The brief’s diverse signatories span sports from ice hockey to rugby, and surfing to soccer.

It makes clear: “While some are internationally recognized champions in their sport, others are athletes who did not go on to a professional athletic career but still deeply value their athletic experience.

“What each amicus athlete has in common, however, is an appreciation for, and understanding of the importance of, their participation in school sports.

“Amici therefore oppose laws like HB 500 that single out groups of women and girls from women’s sports and harm the entire sports community.”

Related topics: billie jean king, IDAHO, Megan Rapinoe

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