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31 Mar, 2020 14:06

Barred: New laws in Idaho BAN transgender athletes from competing in female sports

Barred: New laws in Idaho BAN transgender athletes from competing in female sports

Idaho has become the first state in the US to ban transgender athletes from taking part in female sports leagues, after a two new laws were passed to prevent it.

Idaho's newly-enacted "Fairness in Women's Sports Act" bans trans girls and women from competing in girls' or women's sports leagues affiliated with the state's educational establishments. In addition, law was passed stopping transgender citizens from changing their birth certificates.

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Idaho governor Brad Little passed the two bills into law on Monday, sparking criticism from the LGBT+ community.

The topic of transgender athletes in sporting competition has been a hot-button topic across the sporting world, particularly in the United States, with the safety and integrity of sports competition perceived to be under threat from the inclusion of transgender athletes in female sports.

"It is a sad day in the United States when lawmakers are more determined to stop trans young people from playing games than to provide them with the care, support, and opportunities they need to survive and thrive," said Sam Brinto, the head of The Trevor Project, which advocates for LGBT+ youth.

State lawmaker Barbara Ehardt, who introduced the bill, explained the new legislation thus: "Under this bill, boys and men will not be able to take the place of girls and women in sports because it is not fair."

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The law preventing transgender people from changing their gender on their birth certificate, could face a legal challenge from LGBT+ groups, who have strongly opposed the move.

"Transgender people need accurate identity documents to navigate everyday life, and this gratuitous attack puts them back in harm's way for harassment and even violence," said Kara Ingelhart, a lawyer at Lambda Legal, in a statement.

The company, which has worked with LGBT+ groups on a variety of cases, has highlighted the fact that a federal court had ruled in 2018 that Idaho was violating the US constitution by not allowing trans people to change the gender on their birth certificates.

Two other US states, Ohio and Tennessee, already have the law on their statute books.

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