Indiana’s ban of males in female school sports takes full effect after lawsuit dismissal

A lawsuit contesting an Indiana law banning transgender biological males from playing on female sports teams has been dismissed, removing a previous injunction.

The law, passed last year, applies to K-12 students and took effect on July 1, 2022. But that same month, a preliminary injunction was issued against Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Indiana.

The ACLU represented A.M., a 10-year-old transgender male student who was not allowed to play for the girls softball team in accordance with the law. The injunction compelled IPS to allow him to play on the girls’ team as the lawsuit progressed. However, the ban remained in effect for the rest of the state.

The case was dismissed on Wednesday since the student transferred to a charter school outside of IPS, and the issue became moot. Now, the ban is in full effect across the entire state. However, the ACLU appears to be looking at future litigation if a similar opportunity arises. 

“We filed to dismiss our case on behalf of a trans athlete in IPS solely due to individual circumstances regarding our client’s recent transfer to another school district,” the ACLU said. “If a trans student is being told they cannot participate on a public school sports team, they should reach out to the ACLU of Indiana immediately.” 

A spokesperson for Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita commented on the case’s dismissal, and the “important step in protecting youth sports” accomplished by the law. 

“Allowing males to compete with females creates an unsafe and unfair atmosphere for young female athletes working to improve their athletic prowess,” the spokesperson said. 

 Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit legal group that often deals with issues of religious liberty, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last fall requesting reversal of the district court’s decision. Legal Counsel Rachel Csutoros commented on the victory. 

 “Biological distinction in sports is not just commonsense, it is necessary to ensure girls can continue to play the sports they love on a fair and level playing field,” Csutoros said. “Indiana joins a growing coalition of states that has enacted laws to preserve fair competition for female athletes.”