U.S. Supreme Court Blocks West Virginia Attempt to Deny 12-Year-Old Transgender Girl from Playing Sports in Middle School 

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By Kaylee Pearlman 

WASHINGTON, DC – West Virginia Attorney General’s attempt “to block a 12-year-old girl from continuing to participate in school sports with her peers” failed this week when the U.S. Supreme Court “rejected [the] effort…along a 7-2 vote,” according to the ACLU.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of West Virginia and Lambda Legal stated, “We are grateful that the Supreme Court today acknowledged that there was no emergency and that Becky should be allowed to continue to participate with her teammates on her middle school track team, which she has been doing without incident for three going on four seasons….”

The statement argued that “this was a baseless and cruel effort to keep Becky from where she belongs—playing alongside her peers as a teammate and friend.”

According to the ACLU, “in April of 2023, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed HB 3293 into law…barring transgender student athletes from participating on the school athletic teams most consistent with their gender identity.”

In May 2021, “the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of West Virginia, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of Becky Pepper Jackson, a 12-year-old girl who would be kicked off her middle school’s track and field team if the law were enforced.”

In February of 2023, according to the ACLU, “the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit blocked the state’s effort to kick Becky off the team as the legal advocates appealed a lower court ruling upholding the 2021 ban.”

Attorney General Patrick Morrissey on March 9, 2023 asked the Supreme Court “for an emergency motion allowing the state to enforce HB 3293 and kick Becky off her middle school’s track and field team.”

But, in response, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of West Virginia and Lambda “urged the United States Supreme Court to reject the effort.”

“West Virginia is one of the 19 states that have banned transgender student athletes in just the last three years,” the ACLU said, adding, “As a part of an escalating wave of state-level restrictions on the rights of transgender people…Similar lawsuits are pending in Idaho and Tennessee.”

About The Author

Kaylee is a senior at CSU Long Beach majoring in Criminal Justice. She is interested in the law and passionate about social justice! Following her graduation, she plans on returning to school to get a B.S. in psychology. In the future, she strives to become a criminal psychologist.

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