Vol. XXXVII No. 1

“Hurdling” Gender Identity Discrimination: The Implications of State Participation Policies on Transgender Youth Athletes’ Ability to Thrive

Abstract: The number of students, in grades kindergarten through high school, who identify as transgender has steadily increased during the last decade. These students seek the same opportunities as their cisgender peers, but are often denied participation in athletic activities because of their non-conforming gender-behavior. Currently, there is no federal law governing transgender participation in sports, which has resulted in an inconsistency among state athletic associations’ participation policies; the vast majority of states restricts participation. These states are limiting transgender students’ ability to receive the benefits that sports provide. To solve this inconsistency and provide equal opportunity for transgender students, this Note argues that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 be amended to prohibit gender-based discrimination. As a supplementary solution, the U.S. Department of Education should recommend Congress pass a bill conditioning federal funding of state after-school sports programs on the inclusion of all students, including transgender students.

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