Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed the anti-trans sports bill into law. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)
The parents of a 13-year-old girl have launched a federal lawsuit to challenge Florida’s reviled ban on trans girls taking part in school sports.
Mounted by the Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest LGBT+ advocacy groups in the US, the lawsuit argues that the ban violates both the constitution and existing federal anti-discrimination law.
It was filed on behalf of Daisy, an avid football player aged 13, and her parents. Under Florida’s anti-trans sports law, she will be forced to play either on the boys’ team or quit the sport altogether.
“Playing sports makes me feel like I fit in,” Daisy said in a press release issued Wednesday (30 June). “The thought of not being able to play next year scares me. I’m going to be lonely and sad if I can’t place.”
BREAKING: We are suing in Florida and taking action in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee to block anti-trans laws enacted this year.
These hateful, discriminatory laws have no place in America and we will not rest until they are struck down. https://t.co/PhEGulewiK pic.twitter.com/V1QQxCz8B5
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) June 30, 2021
HRC hopes to send a message to Florida governor Ron DeSantis that “you cannot target our community without retribution”. Further lawsuits will be filed against similar laws in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, it added.
“Kids just want to play sports,” HRC president Alphonso David said, “and are confused about why their state’s leaders, who are elected to represent them, are so determined to hurt them.
“There is no way to be more clear: transgender children are children; transgender girls are girls; transgender boys are boys; and our community deserves respect, dignity and equal protection under the law.”
Florida’s anti-trans sports ban ‘isolates’ trans teens
Florida became the seventh US state this year to ban trans youth from competing on girl’s sports teams at the start of June.
DeSantis signed SB1028 – dubbed “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” – into law on the first day of Pride Month, crushing kids like Daisy.
According to the suit, Daisy has played football since she was eight, has played basketball and softball at school and currently is a goalie on three different soccer teams.
The litigation states she first received gender-affirming healthcare in middle school and never encountered opposition from her teammates, rival athletes, coaches or parents of fellow players when it came to playing sports.
Now working with the law firm Arnold & Porter, her parents have rallied behind her efforts to challenge the ban.
“It is a very helpless feeling to know that people think our daughter does not deserve the rights to play sports with her friends — she has been playing with them for the last seven years and it has not been an issue,” her parents said in a statement.
“Taking this right away will only further isolate her from her peers. As her parents, we just want her to be happy.”
HRC is taking aim at the legislation on several grounds. The suit argues that the ban violates the 14th Amendment, which guarantees Americans equal protection under the law, as well as Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools.
The Department of Education extended Title IX protections to trans pupils earlier this month, saying that all trans youth deserve to “thrive“.
The suit comes after the Justice Department filed statements of interest in two similar lawsuits that aim to reverse laws in West Virginia and Arkansas that target trans athletes and gender-affirming healthcare respectively.
The department said that such laws are unconstitutional.