Appeals Court has overturned West Virginia law banning transgender women from sports teams  

The Federal Court of Appeals on Tuesday decided that the law forbids transgender girls from playing in girls’ sports if rejected under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools on Wednesday. The ruling takes place in the middle of a massive wave of anti-trans genuine advocacy in the country and, at the same time, works against it.  

The regulation in West Virginia, signed into law by Governor Jim Justice in 2021 and introduced as the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” has been a controversial topic. It required that any athletic event organized by the school as an official or an unofficial event must determine the athletes’ participation in the event “based on the athlete’s biological sex as indicated on the athlete’s original birth certificate issued at  

The opinion of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals states that the law cannot safely be applied to a 13-year-old girl who is under meds that do not allow her to go through puberty such that she publicly identifies herself as a girl since she was third grade.  

In a February 2023 court ruling, the banning of Becky Pepper Jackson off a middle school track and field team by the state government was blocked after the law came into effect.  

Judge Toby Heytens wrote that offering her a “choice” between not participating in sports and participating only on boys’ teams “is no real choice at all.”  

The court on Tuesday ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, its West Virginia chapter, and LGBTQ interest group Lambda Legal, which filed a lawsuit in 2021 against the state and county boards of education and their superintendents as defendants. Republican Gov. Jim Justice had signed a bill into law earlier that year.  

The court, therefore, ruled that the law was plausibly violating Title IX when applied to her case, citing that first, she was already publicly recognized in her female identity, having been living it for more than five years and changed her name, and second, the state of West Virginia issued her a birth certificate in which she is also called by her female name.   

The court held that she is under puberty-blocking chemical medication and uses estrogen hormone therapy. The school coach set the tone from as soon as she was in primary school and let students only participate on girls’ athletic teams.

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Nilanjana Basu
Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.

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