The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Indiana Judge Allows Trans Girl to Rejoin Softball Team

Softball game

A judge issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday to allow a trans girl in Indiana to rejoin her all-girls softball team while the case continues.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s judge Jane Magnus-Stinson made the order to allow 10-year-old A.M. to play on her team after her school told her parents she could no longer be on the team following the passage of the state's anti-trans sports ban, House Enrolled Act 1041.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued the school district in April on behalf of the girl, challenging the state's ban on trans girls participating in school sports that match their gender identity.

“When misinformation about biology and gender is used to bar transgender girls from school sports it amounts to the same form of sex discrimination that has long been prohibited under Title IX, a law that protects all students – including trans people – on the basis of sex,” Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, said in a statement. “We are pleased that Judge Magnus-Stinson has recognized this and required that A.M. be allowed to play on her school’s softball team. If other students are being denied the right to join a sports team at their school due to their transgender status, we encourage them to contact the ACLU of Indiana immediately.” 

In May, both houses of the Republican-dominated state legislature voted to override Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of the exclusionary bill. Holcomb is a Republican as well, but he had opposed the measure authored by Rep. Michelle Davis. He said it was unnecessary and could result in the state being sued.

The ACLU of Indiana filed the suit shortly after the veto. The law violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law banning sex discrimination in education, and the guarantee of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution, the suit asserts.

The Indiana measure affects K-12 public schools and any private schools that compete against them. It does not cover colleges and universities, and it does not restrict sports participation by trans males.

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