Symposium: Gender, Health, and the Constitution: The New Gender Panic in Sport: Why State Laws Banning Transgender Athletes are Unconstitutional


This essay considers the role of sport in the new gender panic of legislative activity targeting transgender individuals, which now extends into health and family governance. Sport was one of the first settings—the gateway—to ignite the current culture war on transgender youth. This analysis examines how Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, the popular law responsible for the growth of opportunities for girls and women in sports, has been mobilized in service of a broader gender agenda. Far from providing a persuasive justification for the state laws banning transgender girls from girls’ sports, Title IX, properly understood, supports the case for transgender inclusion, not exclusion. Lacking a genuinely substantial connection to the preservation of girls’ and women’s athletic opportunities, state laws excluding transgender girls and women from sports violate the Equal Protection Clause. And these laws also have implications to health more generally and to other constitutional controversies

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This paper was published in The University of Akron.

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