BOISE – Lawmakers in Idaho are targeting transgender youth with a proposed ban on their participation in school sports in accordance with their authentic identity. This bill was passed largely along party lines on February 26, 2020 and heads to the Senate side before going to the governor’s desk.
Idaho House Bill 500 discriminates against transgender student athletes by barring their participation in school sports that align with their gender identity, which is counter to current policies from the Idaho High School Activities Association, and subject them to unnecessary and invasive physical examinations.
“No student should be targeted for discrimination because they are transgender,” said Kathy Griesmyer, Policy Director of ACLU Idaho. “Participation in school sports leads to many positive outcomes, including greater academic success and improved self-esteem. We shouldn’t deny students the chance to participate because of who they are. Lawmakers should not promote baseless fears about trans athletes while ignoring the real issues of gender parity in sports when it comes to funding, resources, pay equity and opportunity. This bill harms transgender kids and helps absolutely no one.”
HB 500 would violate basic privacy protections by requiring educators and coaches to identify and separate transgender youth while subjecting them to invasive medical procedures, such as DNA analysis, hormone level monitoring and inspection of the youth’s “internal and external reproductive anatomy.”
Research shows that transgender you have the best outcomes when they are affirmed in their gender identity through supportive families, medical providers and communities. Denying appropriate and necessary medical care to transgender youth can be life-threatening and has been shown to contribute to depression, social isolation, risk of self-harm and more.
The National Women’s Law Center, the Women’s Sports Foundation, Women Leaders in College Sports and others support trans-inclusive policies and oppose efforts to exclude transgender students from participating in sports.
At the high school level, 20 states, including Idaho currently, allow transgender kids to compete in sports consistent with their gender identity. There have been no known troubles or complaints in Idaho under the status quo.