What is HB 11?

This lawsuit challenges Part 9 of House Bill 11. which prohibits all transgender girls from competing on a girls’ team in K-12 interscholastic school sports. The ban includes public and private schools that may compete against public schools in Utah. By basing eligibility on sex assigned at birth, the Utah legislature barred all transgender girls from competing on their school sports teams.

Why does the ACLU care about this law?

We are bringing this on behalf of two Utah families directly impacted by this. We believe that HB 11 violates multiple provisions of the Utah State constitution because it unfairly singles out a specific group for their identity and disfavored treatment. More importantly, this law is incredibly cruel and harmful and implicitly says it’s ok to discriminate against transgender children in schools.

Why is this law harmful?

This law is harmful for many reasons. It treats transgender children as outcasts and sends the dangerous message that it is okay to reject and exclude people because of who they are. This is precisely the opposite message we should be sending to young people and their families in this state.

Passing this law was not in response to any problem. Utah High School Activities Association already had a policy in place that permitted transgender children to compete in sports if they met certain requirements. As Governor Cox noted, only a handful of transgender kids are playing sports in Utah, and there was no evidence that the existing policy was problematic. The law is a solution in search of a problem. It completely BANS all transgender girls from competing.

What is the goal of this litigation?

We hope to stop the ban from going into effect. This law was introduced and passed on the last night of the legislative session. As Governor Cox noted in his veto message, this is an extreme law that passed at the last minute without any meaningful discussion or process. At no point throughout the legislative session was the possibility of excluding all transgender girls considered.

We are bringing this challenge on behalf of two families whose daughters will be prohibited from fully participating on their teams if the ban goes into effect. This will be devastating for them, as it would be for any girl suddenly told that she can’t play with her teammates simply because of who she is.