The HB 500 lawsuit and the July 22, 2020, court hearing:
Earlier this year, the Idaho Legislature passed a bill that bans women and girls who are transgender from school and college sports. The law also forces all girls and women who participate in school athletics to endure invasive testing to prove their sex if anyone disputes their gender. The bill was known as House Bill 500, or HB 500 for short. The Governor signed the bill and on July 1, 2020, it became an Idaho law.
What is the lawsuit about?
The law makes Idaho the only state to completely bar all women and girls who are transgender from sports. We sued because trans people belong everywhere, including in schools and on sports teams. The lawsuit asks the court to strike down the new law.
What is the hearing on July 22 about?
The hearing is for the lawyers in the case to make arguments to the judge about HB 500. There are three big topics they will argue about:
- Will the judge #LetLindsayRun? The judge has to decide whether to stop HB 500 from taking effect during the coming school year. The judge can do that by issuing an order called a “preliminary injunction.” That order would stop the government from enforcing HB 500 for now. If the court issues an injunction, Lindsay Hecox can try out for Boise State’s cross-country team next month.
- Should the court dismiss the case? State officials have all asked the judge to dismiss the case instead. If the judge dismisses the case, HB 500 will prevent Lindsay and other trans girls and women in Idaho from competing in school sports this fall.
- Should two cis women at Idaho State University be allowed into the lawsuit? Two cisgender women who are student athletes at ISU want to be in the lawsuit to argue in favor of HB 500. An anti-LGBTQ group called Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represents the two students in court.
When will the judge make a decision?
The judge probably will not make a decision at the hearing. We expect that the judge will just hear the arguments that the lawyers make and release a written decision a few weeks later.
Who is Lindsay Hecox?
Lindsay is one of the two women who brought the lawsuit to challenge HB 500. She’s known as a “Plaintiff.” Lindsay is a student at Boise State University who will soon start her sophomore year. She is a runner and she is transgender. She plans to try out for Boise State’s cross-country team when tryouts start next month. She finds that cross country and track help her to stay motivated, make friends, and feel alive. She wants to get to keep playing the sports she loves.
Who is Jane Doe?
Jane is also a Plaintiff—a student athlete who brought the lawsuit to challenge HB 500. Jane is not her real name—she is going by Jane Doe in the lawsuit to protect her privacy. She is a rising senior at Boise High School. She is a young cis woman and competes in soccer and track on Boise High’s teams. If the judge does not stop HB 500 from taking effect for the fall season, she might have to prove she’s a woman by enduring invasive testing if an opposing player, parent, or coach questions her gender. She wants everyone, including women and girls who are transgender, to have access to the joy sport has brought her.
What are the legal problems with HB 500?
Idaho’s outright ban on trans women in school sports is unconstitutional. It violates the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment because it excludes women and girls who are transgender from school athletics altogether. It also violates Equal Protection because it makes it harder for all women to participate in school sports, treating men more favorably and discriminating against women. It also violates women’s rights to privacy, including under the Fourth Amendment, because it can be used to force girls and women to suffer invasive testing to prove their gender. And it violates Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in education, because it excludes trans women from school sports and discriminates against all women, both cisgender and transgender.