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Idaho Becomes First U.S. State to Prohibit Some Transgender Athletes

Idaho Governor Brad Little signed the Fairness in Women's Sports Act on 30 March 2020, making the state the first in the United States to bar transgender girls and women from competing in girls' and women's sports. Little also enacted a law that bars transgender persons from altering their gender identity listed on their birth certificate.

The law also legalizes asking female sports participants to consent to sex testing to participate in a girls' or women's sport activity. According to the law, athletes who were born male are barred from girls' or women's teams, and any player whose gender is contested can "establish sex by presenting a signed physician's statement that shall indicate [their] sex."

The statement must be based on either a confirmation of the athlete's internal and external reproductive anatomy, a hormone level test, or a DNA test. According to local Idaho news outlet and radio station Kootenai Valley Times, Idaho Democrats opposed the laws, partly in anticipation of a costly lawsuit, as well as the possibility of discouraging female athletes from sports  to avoid "invasive, expensive exams."

According to The New York Timesthe laws' supporters refuse to accept that someone can be a gender different from what is stated on their respective birth certificate. The Thompson Reuters Foundation reported that supporters cited allowing those born male to compete against girls or women in sports or even take their place was unfair.

The Idaho American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a statement in response to the bills being signed into law. The ACLU said it will pursue legal action against Little and called the new laws "discriminatory, unconstitutional, and deeply hurtful."

Lambda Legal, which supports LGBT+ rights in legal matters, pointed out that the new laws may violate a 2018 U.S. federal court ruling that allows transgender people to alter the sex on their birth certificates. (F.V. and Dani Martin v. Barron, U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, No. 1:17-cv-00170-CWD, 2018)