Transgender Teen Sues Tennessee Over Anti-Trans School Sports Ban

Civil rights groups on Nov. 4 filed a lawsuit on behalf of a transgender teen to challenge a controversial Tennessee law that restricts transgender youth from participating in school sports.

Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the ACLU of Tennessee filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on behalf of 14-year-old Luc Esquival, a freshman whom the law barred from playing on the boys’ golf team at Farragut High School in Knoxville.

SB 228, which took effect on March after being signed by Republican Governor Bill Lee, requires transgender students in middle schools and high schools to play on teams that match their gender identity assigned at birth.

The complaint argues that the law is discriminatory and unconstitutional, calling it “a solution in search of a problem” that does not exist.

According to the complaint, the law “will encourage bullying and harassment” against transgender students and deprives them of the benefits of interscholastic sports.

“For some transgender students, being required to play on a team that does not match their gender identity would have the additional consequence of revealing private medical information, as not all students who are transgender are known to be transgender by their peers,” the complaint further argues.

Lee said earlier this year that he supported the bill to preserve fairness in women’s sports. However, advocates have said there were no examples to back up Lee’s claims.

The civil rights groups noted in a statement that healthcare organizations opposed the law and athletic associations support the participation of transgender students in school sports, reporting no issues with inclusive policies.

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