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News >  Idaho

Idaho student leaders denounce anti-transgender laws

UPDATED: Wed., April 29, 2020

Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks during a news conference in Boise on March 25, 2020. Student government leaders at Idaho’s public four-year universities are criticizing Little for signing two bills that limit the rights of transgender people. (Darin Oswald / AP)
Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks during a news conference in Boise on March 25, 2020. Student government leaders at Idaho’s public four-year universities are criticizing Little for signing two bills that limit the rights of transgender people. (Darin Oswald / AP)

Student government leaders at Idaho’s public four-year universities are criticizing Gov. Brad Little for signing two bills that limit the rights of transgender people.

One of the new laws, dubbed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, prohibits transgender girls and women from participating in girls and women’s sports. The other bars people from changing the gender on their birth certificates. Both were signed last month and are being challenged in federal court.

The student body presidents of the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State College, along with two dozen other student leaders, condemned the new laws in a letter sent to Little’s office last week.

The students said the laws are discriminatory and will be expensive to defend in court. They noted that a federal judge struck down a similar ban on birth certificate changes two years ago, and that five former Idaho attorneys general have raised concerns about the state’s legal footing.

“Reallocating taxpayer money to further a discriminatory cause is not in the best interest of Idaho citizens,” the students wrote. “These bills have no constitutional or scientific basis and are negatively targeting a community that already faces a host of hurdles and discrimination based on who they are. The bills are unnecessary, potentially expensive, and may produce various legal repercussions.”

The students also questioned the premise of the ban on transgender athletes, saying “there have been no documented instances of transgender women having an inherent advantage over cisgender women in female athletic programs in Idaho.”

Current Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office also forewarned Republican lawmakers that the transgender legislation would expose the state to legal challenges. The office is tasked with defending the laws in court.

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