Indiana Transgender Sports Ban: Court Challenge Dropped

A federal court on Wednesday dismissed a legal challenge to an Indiana law that bans natural males from playing sports for girls after the student she represents transferred schools.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana dismissed the case, overturning the injunction issued in July against the 2022 law banning men impersonating women from playing K-12 sports on girls’ teams.

The lawsuit was filed last year against Indianapolis Public Schools on behalf of AM, a 10-year-old student who was banned by law from playing softball on the girls’ team, but the student has since transferred to a charter school.

“AM recently enrolled in a charter school not operated by the defendant Indianapolis Public Schools,” the court order said. “Accordingly, this matter is now contentious and the parties agree that this case should be dismissed, with each party bearing its own costs and attorneys’ fees.”

Despite the motion to dismiss the case, the Indiana ACLU said it stands by its argument that the law violates Title IX and the Equality Clause and encouraged all transgender students who have been barred from girls’ sports to contact the organization.

“We have moved to have our case dismissed on behalf of a trans athlete in IPS schools solely on individual circumstances relating to our client’s recent transfer to another school district,” the ACLU said. “If a trans student is told they cannot participate on a public school athletic team, they should contact the Indiana ACLU immediately.”

The measure, known as House Enrolled Act 1041, became law in May after GOP-led lawmakers overrode Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed a brief with a court friend in support of the law, said the dismissal was a win for women athletes.

“Biological discrimination in sport is not just common sense, it’s necessary to ensure girls can continue to play the sport they love under fair and equal conditions,” said ADF Attorney Rachel Csutoros. “Indiana joins a growing coalition of states that have legislated to preserve fair competition for women athletes. We are pleased to bring this case to a positive conclusion for the courageous women athletes we represent who are committed to protecting the future of women’s sport.”

The Indiana dismissal marks the second court victory this month for enemies of biological males in women’s athletics.

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court judge upheld West Virginia’s Save Women’s Sports Act, which segregates sports by sex and defines a person’s sex as their sex at birth, the first federal ruling on the constitutionality of such measures.

Eighteen states have enacted laws declaring biological males unfit for women’s sports, and several have been challenged in court.

The Indiana bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Michelle Davis, a former Division I athlete and a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.