New argument filed to reverse AZ judge's decision to allow 2 transgender girls in girls sports

By Jill Ryan
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2023 - 1:35pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 26, 2023 - 1:37pm

An Arizona lawsuit challenging the ban of transgender girls in girls sports has taken a new turn.

Republican lawmakers who unsuccessfully defended the law's total implementation last week now have a new argument.

Representatives for two transgender girls successfully argued that trans girls should be considered individually especially those not experiencing puberty.

But a new court filing, made by the opposition, argues puberty is irrelevant. And that there’s no evidence that the advantage biological boys are believed to have over biological girls goes away.

The filing also argues Title IX has not been violated, because trans girls are banned on the basis of an incompatible medical condition, known as gender dysphoria, rather than because of their gender identity.

"Their exclusion from girls' teams is due to a medical condition, not the states' sex-based separation of sports team," said Justin Smith, the attorney for Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma.

The basis for that is the finding by the judge, at the behest of the lawyers for the transgender girls, that their clients have "gender dysphoria."

That is generally defined as an individual's sense of mismatch between biological sex — the sex assigned at birth — and gender identity. And the judge said denying transgender girls the opportunity to participate in sports with other girls can be harmful, citing high rates of suicide in the transgender community.

But Smith says that diagnosis of gender dysphoria cannot become the basis to allow those born male to participate in girls' sports.

It’s unclear how successful the new argument will be.

Smith specifically cited one court ruling which said that Title IX is designed "to increase opportunities for women and girls in athletics."

But that argument may not be sound to this judge since their past order was based on the premise that transgender girls — and, specifically, in this case where they have not entered puberty — are, in fact, girls for purposes of participating in sports.

What remains hanging in the balance is the permanence of the judge's ruling barring the state's enforcement of the 2022 law against the two transgender girls. It was not a final order. And it permits the state to seek a full-blown trial on the issue.

Politics Education Gender