Federal Judge Says 11-Year-Old Trans Athlete Must Play on Girls’ Team Despite West Virginia Law


A biologically male middle schooler must be allowed to play on a girls’ cross-country team despite West Virginia law prohibiting trans athletes from competing on female sports teams.

U.S. Circuit Judge Joseph R. Goodwin granted a temporary injunction Wednesday that says 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson may “sign up for and participate in school athletics in the same way as her girl classmates.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)-West Virginia had filed a suit on Pepper-Jackson’s behalf which challenged H.B. 3293, which was signed into law by Republican Governor Jim Justice in May.

The judge appeared to express a distinctly critical view of those who would support such legislation preventing biological males from being allowed to play on women and girls’ sports teams, as The Daily Caller reported.

“A fear of the unknown and discomfort with the unfamiliar have motivated many of the most malignant harms committed by our country’s governments on their own citizens,” Judge Goodwin said.

“Out of fear of those less like them, the powerful have made laws that restricted who could attend what schools, who could work certain jobs, who could marry whom, and even how people can practice their religions.”

The judge also said he was insufficiently convinced that the law addressed a real problem, much less an “important” problem.

“At this point, I have been provided with scant evidence that this law addresses any problem at all, let alone an important problem,” he said of the law. “When the government distinguishes between different groups of people, those distinctions must be supported by compelling reasons.”

West Virginia was one of a handful of states which have passed such legislation prohibiting biologically male students from participating in female sports teams at public schools and universities.

It also required students to provide a birth certificate to determine their gender as listed by the school.

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