On April 1, 2020, Idaho became the first state to deny transgender girls from participating in girls’ athletics. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was signed by Governor Brad Little, who also signed a bill that prohibits transgender people from being able to change their birth certificates to match their gender identities. Further, it legalized the practice of requiring girls and women to partake in genetic and hormone testing in order to compete, should their gender be questioned. This would include internal and external examination of reproductive organs. Prior to this law, the Idaho High School Activities Association fostered the inclusion of transgender athletes in a way similar to that of the N.C.A.A.
The N.C.A.A. policy recommends that schools require transgender athletes undergo a year of hormone treatment before competing on a female team. Further, the International Olympic Committee requires transgender athletes to demonstrate lower testosterone levels for a year. What is unique about this Idaho law, however, is that it places an outright ban of transgender girls competing sports altogether.
Gender verification testing was banned by the International Olympic Committee in 1999. While the intent behind the law is to protect and provide fair athletic opportunities for females, we can expect to see a stark increase in litigation as a result of this new law. In 2018, a federal court found a policy barring changes on birth certificates to be unconstitutional. There may be possible Title IX violations, as well.
The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act can be accessed here.