Last week, a federal judge in Tucson, Arizona, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction blocking a state law that would prevent males from participating in girls’ sports. Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act was passed in 2022 and signed into law by then-Gov. Doug Ducey, ensuring that “…athletic teams or sports designated for ‘females,’ ‘women,’ or ‘girls’ may not be open to students of the male sex.”
Prior to the law’s passage in 2022, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) had a policy allowing males to play on girls’ sports teams if they submitted a request that was approved by a “committee of medical and psychiatric experts, and consistent with AIA health and safety policy and if not motivated by an improper purpose.”
Arizona is not the only state to pass a law protecting girls’ sports. At least 20 other states have passed similar laws, most of which are also facing legal challenges.
A preliminary injunction is an extreme legal remedy. It prevents a law from going into effect and it is only granted if the plaintiffs can prove the following elements:
- They are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims.
- They are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief.
- The balance of equities tips in their favor.
- An injunction is in the public interest.
However, the order, written by Obama-appointed Judge Jennifer Zipps, makes numerous “findings of facts and conclusions of law,” most of which sound like gobbledygook pulled straight from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) website.
According to Judge Zipps, the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claims that the Arizona law is unconstitutional because the two transgender plaintiffs, 11 and 15 years old, respectively, have taken medication that prevents them from going through male puberty. Or, as Judge Zipps puts it:
The testimony by Drs. Brown and Hilton that boys have some biological advantages related to physical fitness before puberty does not support a conclusion that Plaintiffs [who are biological males], who have not experienced male puberty, have any athletic advantage over other girls or pose a safety risk to other girls by playing on girls’ sports teams.
The order also finds it necessary to make a finding of fact the typical bogeyman used by pro-trans advocates, which is that the risks to children if not allowed to “transition” include “anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide,” as well as discrimination and harassment. These statistics are arguably exaggerated at the very least.
The order finally holds that unless the plaintiffs are allowed to play girls’ sports, they will suffer “irreparable harm,” not just because their constitutional rights are being violated, but because it would be humiliating and painful if they are not allowed to “live as girls in all aspects of their lives,” including athletics. Apparently living as girls in all aspects of their lives is an essential part of the treatment for their gender dysphoria.
Now that the court has ruled, the defendants in the case — which include the state school superintendent, the local school district superintendent, the two schools and school districts involved, and the AIA — state that they plan to appeal the ruling. While the decision will likely be upheld by a liberal Ninth Circuit, State School Superintendent Tom Horne thinks the ultimate decision will be made by the United States Supreme Court.
It’s easy to mock the Orwellian language that allows two males to participate in girls’ sports in an ironic mockery of the original Title IX, the federal guidance created in large part to protect girls’ sports.
However, at the center of this lawsuit are two children who are victims — both males who have believed they are girls since a young age. Both “knew they were a girl,” have either been taking medication to stop puberty, or are about to start taking medication. Both have been constantly affirmed in their new identity by parents, teachers, peers, and now a federal court. Tragically, that’s the true irreparable harm.