A Utah judge sided with three transgender athletes and their parents by refusing to dismiss their lawsuit challenging the state’s law, passed in March, that banned biological males from competing in girls’ sports.
The lawsuit claimed House Bill 11, which was passed by Utah’s legislators, then vetoed by Utah Governor Spencer Cox before the legislature overrode his veto, violated the Utah Constitution.
When the lawsuit was filed, Republican State Representative Kera Birkeland, who sponsored House Bill 11, responded, “The lawsuit filed today is not surprising, as such actions have been threatened since the beginning. My goal has always been to protect girls sports and female athletes across the state, and I hope the courts will recognize that and uphold the legislation.”
Former Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee, the brother of Utah GOP Senator Mike Lee, had contended as he represented the state, “Plaintiffs are not in a position to allege any particularized harm arising from the application of HB11 to them, or to identify any particularized manner in which the law is alleged to infringe their constitutional rights.”
Transgender girls are not “outright ban[ned]”… from competing in high school sports. They can fully compete in the sports that match their biological sex or participate with a girls team in everything but games or competitions. And the differing treatment of biological girls and transgender girls is “rooted in inherent differences between the sexes.”
Biological girls were not born boys. Transgender girls were. And even if transgender girls have undergone puberty blocking or hormone therapy, they still maintain and develop biological differences that are an advantage on the playing field. Try as one might, human beings cannot entirely shake their biology.
But on Wednesday, Third District Judge Keith Kelly rebuffed the motion from the state’s attorneys to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the transgender girls’ claims “do provide evidence of their individual and palpable injury.”
House Bill 11 “imposes limits on participation in female sports by requiring schools and local education agencies to designate athletic activities by sex, (by) prohibiting a student of the male sex from competing against another school on a team designated for female students, (by) prohibiting certain complaints or investigations based on a school or local education agency maintaining separate athletic activities for female students.”
Two of the transgender athletes who filed the lawsuit are reportedly a 16-year-old volleyball player and a 13-year-old swimmer, both of whom are public school students.