Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 18 attorneys general, took action today in support of a West Virginia student challenging a state law banning transgender female students from participating on sports teams consistent with their general identity.
The student was prohibited from joining her school’s girls’ cross country and track teams and filed a lawsuit against the board of education. In an amicus brief filed in B.P.J. v. West Virginia Board of Education, Raoul and the coalition argue that the law violates the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as it denies transgender students access to the same athletic opportunities that other students enjoy.
“Transgender students should be afforded the same extra-curricular opportunities available to every student,” Raoul said. “I will continue to stand with my colleagues against discriminatory policies and in full support of the rights of transgender individuals.”
Raoul and the coalition note in their brief that more than 1.6 million people in the United States, including approximately 300,000 youth between the ages of 13 and 17, identify as transgender. These Americans make valuable contributions to our communities as teachers, essential workers, firefighters, doctors and more, but they also face discrimination, violence and harassment that limits their ability to realize their full potential. A survey of transgender students conducted by the National School Climate Survey found that 77 percent of respondents reported negative experiences in school, including verbal harassment and assault.
Joining Raoul in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.