BOISE — Late on March 16, 2020, in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic and after multiple last-minute schedule changes, the Idaho Senate voted 24-11 to pass House Bill 500, which aims to ban trans girls from playing in any athletic sport with their female peers in high school or college. The bill, presented by Sen. Mary Souza (R-Coeur d’Alene) also potentially puts cisgender girls at risk of highly invasive medical examinations of their genitals.
HB 500 now moves to Governor Brad Little’s desk, where he will determine whether to veto this bill or sign this bill into law. If it were to be signed into law, it would be the first of its kind in the country, setting a dangerous and discriminatory precedent for anti-transgender legislation in the U.S. The ACLU of Idaho, along with other partnering organizations and thousands of Idahoans, urge the governor to veto HB 500, and ask him to disavow the ideology of outside hate groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom, which is behind this and similar legislation in 17 other states. Gov. Little should instead focus on slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in Idaho by enacting emergency responses that ensure the safety and peace of mind of all Idahoans.
“This bill attempts to solve a problem that does not exist while slamming the door shut for transgender student athletes to fully participate in their school communities,” said Kathy Griesmyer, policy director with the ACLU of Idaho. “Idaho has not seen any issues with trans girls competing in the girls sports. This unconstitutional and mean-spirited bill prevents trans girls from finding community and self-esteem in sports and will certainly result in litigation to defend the civil rights of Idaho’s transgender community.”
The ACLU of Idaho urges the community to contact Governor Little and tell him to veto HB 500. The governor's office can be reached by calling 208-344-2100, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the website https://gov.idaho.gov/contact-us/.