A federal judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction in favor of a transgender girl who would be blocked from playing girls’ sports under Indiana’s new ban.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued Indianapolis Public Schools on behalf of a 10-year-old girl who will no longer be able to play softball on her school’s all-girls’ softball team. The child and her family are identified by initials in the lawsuit.
“A.M. has established that she has a strong likelihood of succeeding on the merits of her claim that IPS’s and the Superintendent’s application of § 20-33-13-4 to prohibit her from playing on the girls’ softball team violates Title IX. She has also established that she would suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate legal remedy, and that both the balance of harms and the public interest favor issuing an injunction,” the ruling said.
U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said the case “raises controversial issues regarding the boundaries of Title IX and whether and how those boundaries should stretch and shift in an ever-changing world.”
Title IX is the federal civil rights law that passed in 1972 prohibiting sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government. It gives women athletes the right to equal opportunity in sports in educational institutions that receive federal funds, from elementary schools to colleges and universities.
Indiana lawmakers in March passed the bill, which specifically blocks transgender girls from playing on girl’s school sports teams. It doesn’t impact transgender boys or college and professional sports.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed the bill, saying there is no current problem in Indiana and noting the Indiana High School Athletic Association already has a policy in place to ensure fair competition.
Legislators then returned in May to override the veto. The lawsuit was filed within hours, but the law went into effect July 1 while waiting for an initial ruling.
According to court filings, A.M. began telling her family she was a girl before the age of 4. Now she’s being treated at the Gender Health Clinic at Riley Children’s Hospital and has been living as a girl. She attends school as a girl and her fellow students only know her as a girl.
A Marion County court entered an order changing the gender marker on A.M.’s birth certificate to female and changing her legal first name to her female first name.