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American Civil Liberties Union asks federal judge to block Indiana’s new transgender athlete law



Indianapolis, Indiana — According to a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, on Wednesday new restrictions on transgender athletes deny them a key part of their transition.

In order to block the state’s new law that prohibits transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams at any K-12 school minutes after lawmakers overrode Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto on Tuesday afternoon, the ACLU of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit. On Wednesday morning, Lawyers filed an additional motion asking a judge to block the law while the court case moves forward.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a 10-year-old girl who attends Indianapolis Public Schools.

According to ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Kenneth Falk, the girl was assigned male at birth but has lived and identified as a female since she was four years old.

She now takes puberty blockers and will begin hormone therapy soon. According to court documents, the state has already changed the girl’s birth certificate to match her gender identity.

The girl plays on her school’s softball team. That’s important for someone in her situation because it lets them identify with people who match their gender identity, Falk said. According to him, most people have only ever known the plaintiff as a girl, so Indiana’s new law would effectively out her.

“This law does not look to one’s gender identity but asks only what sex were you assigned at birth, and it’s irrelevant under this law that she’s a girl at this point,” Falk said.

According to Falk, IPS officials told the girl’s family the new law would prevent them from allowing her to play on the team. IPS officials would not comment directly on the lawsuit but criticized the new law as an unnecessary restriction.

“We agree with Governor Holcomb that this legislation does not provide a clear and consistent policy to ensure fairness in the state’s K-12 sports,” IPS said in a statement. “We will review all legal options related to this matter.”

According to Falk, court precedent favors the case. He pointed to a 2017 ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Indiana, that ordered the Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin to allow a transgender student to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity.

Rep. Michelle Davis, R-Whiteland, who wrote the law, turned down a request for comment due to pending litigation.


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