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Advocacy

The Trevor Project Files Amicus Brief in Idaho Supporting Transgender Student-Athlete Rights

BY: Josh Weaver
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The Trevor Project filed an amicus brief yesterday with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Hecox v. Little. Lindsay Hecox is a transgender student at Boise State University who wants to be part of the school track team and filed suit after Idaho passed HB 500 early in 2020 — making it the first state in the nation to restrict transgender women and girls from playing on college and high school sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.

The amicus brief provides the Court and the public with The Trevor Project’s unique insights into the serious harms inflicted on transgender and nonbinary students when they are excluded from participating in school programs and activities, like sports, as who they are. The Trevor Project hears regularly via our crisis services from trans youth who just want the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong. 

Research around rates of participation and wellbeing among LGBTQ youth athletes, based on data from our 2020 National Survey of over 40,000 LGBTQ youth, emphasizes the importance of affording transgender and nonbinary youth the same opportunities for learning sportsmanship, leadership, confidence, relationship-building, and self-discipline as their cisgender peers. 

  • One in three LGBTQ youth who participated in sports reported their grades as being mostly A’s compared to one in four LGBTQ youth who did not participate in sports.
  • Transgender and nonbinary youth reported significantly lower rates of sports participation than their cisgender LGBQ peers.
  • One in three LGBTQ youth who were not “out” to anyone about their sexual orientation participated in sports compared to one in five who were “out” to all or most of those they knew. Similarly, TGNB youth who were more “out” about their gender identity were less involved in sports than those who were not “out” about their gender identity.

The Trevor Project was represented in this matter by pro bono counsel from Gibson Dunn, including Stuart Delery, Abbey Hudson, Shireen Barday, Dione Garlick, Emily Maxim Lamm, Bethany Saul, and Randi Brown, and Wendy J. Olson from Stoel Rives LLP.

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