Today, the Senate Education Committee voted to advance Senate File 133, legislation that would ban transgender athletes from competing on the sports teams that match their gender identity.
The ACLU of Wyoming opposes Senate File 133. This bill violates both the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which protects all students – including those who are transgender – from discrimination based on sex.
“Senate File 133 is not about leveling the playing field for student athletes. It’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life,” said Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director. “Extreme policies such as Senate File 133 are out of step with prevailing international and national norms of athletic competition. Inclusive teams that support all athletes and encourage participation should be the standard for all school sports.”
Currently, transgender school students wishing to compete in school activities may do so, provided they follow the policy articulated by the Wyoming High School Activities Association. Senate File 133 would eliminate this policy and the oversight of the WHSAA. The bill is an attempt to codify discrimination against transgender youth under state law.
“All young people should have the opportunity to play high school sports and have their personal dignity respected,” Serrano said. “Transgender students are no different. No one is harmed by allowing transgender people to compete consistent with who they are.”
In December 2022, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a student athletic policy in Connecticut allowing transgender students to play on the teams most consistent with their gender identity.
On behalf of Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, two transgender young women, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation of Connecticut defended the transgender youth participation policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) in Soule et al v. CT Association of Schools et al, the nation’s first federal court case challenging such a policy.
In the ruling, the Second Circuit ruled the claims that cisgender girls were denied opportunities or championships are moot and unfounded, ultimately ruling they lacked standing to challenge the CIAC’s policy. The court noted that, on numerous occasions, the cisgender plaintiffs placed first in various events, even sometimes when competing against Yearwood and Miller. The court also affirmed discrimination against transgender students violates Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs, aligning the ruling with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Title VII in Bostock v. Clayton County.
About the ACLU of Wyoming
The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Wyoming is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and South Dakota. The team in Wyoming is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of Wyoming carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of Wyoming.