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West Virginia Can Keep Transgender Sports Ban, Judge Says

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West Virginia Can Keep Transgender Sports Ban, Judge Says

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West Virginia Can Keep Transgender Sports Ban, Judge Says
West Virginia Can Keep Transgender Sports Ban, Judge Says

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (AP) — West Virginia's ban on transgender athletes from participating in girls' school sports is constitutional and valid, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its West Virginia chapter filed the lawsuit on behalf of an 11-year-old transgender girl who hopes to attend a cross-country college in Harrison County in 2021. The lawsuit names school boards in the state and county of Harrison and their superintendents as defendants.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey welcomed Thursday's decision by US District Judge Joseph Goodwin.

"It's not just about simple biology, it's about justice for women's sport, plain and simple," the attorney general said. "The opportunities for girls and women on the ground are invaluable and we need to secure that future."

The ACLU of West Virginia said Thursday it is reviewing the decision with the co-counsel to determine next steps. The ban applies to colleges, high schools and colleges.

The ability of transgender athletes to compete in sports is an ongoing national debate. More than a dozen states have passed laws banning or restricting transgender people from participating in sports because it gives them an unfair competitive advantage, though generally no problem is insurmountable.

A 2017 study by the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute used a statewide population-based survey to estimate that West Virginia has the highest percentage (1.04%) of residents aged 13 to 17 . This equates to about 1,150 young people.

The West Virginia High School Conduct Commission, which oversees school athletics, said it had received no complaints about transgender athletes on its women's team in 2021, when the complaint was filed.

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