A federal judge declared on Thursday that West Virginia’s prohibition on male-to-female transgender athletes participating in female school sports is constitutional and can be upheld.
The debate centers on the state’s definition of “girl” and “woman.” The state adheres to a strict biological definition of sex therefore, under the state’s definition transgender girls are not legally girls and thus are not permitted to join sports teams that affirm their gender identity.
The federal judge ruled that West Virginia’s ban does not violate Title IX because transgender athletes are not totally banned from school sports just teams. Just teams that don’t align with their biological sex.
This case is part of an ongoing national debate about transgender athletes. Particularly male-to-female transgender athletes who conservatives contend should be banned from women’s sports because they have an inherent biological advantage. But supporters of the lawsuit say that not only is “social transition” the only real way to treat gender dysphoria but that there is also a “significant biologic component” on top of that. Additionally, they contend that the advantages of biological sex are mitigated by hormone therapy especially if that therapy comes before puberty.
Barring transgender girl athletes from women’s sports was a big campaign issue for many republican candidates in the previous election cycle.