Trans Teenager Luc Esquivel Sues Tennessee Over School Sports Ban

Photo: (Photo : Jill Rose/Pixabay)

Tennessee's school sports ban on transgender students has been challenged in court by a 14-year-old transgender golfer, Luc Esquivel, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lambda Legal.

The lawsuit stated that the school sports ban on kids who prefer to play sports aligning with their gender identity is a discriminatory and unconstitutional law. The lawsuit also argued that the ban will encourage bullying among the students while denying transgender players their right to participate in what they love.

In a statement, Esquivel said that he had planned on trying out and training for the boys' golf team but then Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed the law that "singled out me and kids like me" to play in the games. He also said that the school sports ban on transgenders crushed and hurt him when all he wants to do is to play "like any other kid."

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What is the School Sports Ban on Transgenders?

The Tennessee law effectively requires student-athletes, as well as their parents, to prove their gender in a form of an original birth certificate or similar documents before they can play. However, since transgender kids transition from the sex they were assigned at birth, this law automatically means they won't be able to play in a sport that does not align with their gender identities.

In the case of Esquivel, he won't be able to play under the boys' team since his original birth certificate reflects the gender he was assigned at birth. His mother, Shelley Esquivel, has been angry over the law's passage as well because she knows how important sports are for her son to thrive in his teenage years.

Speaking with NBC News, Shelley said that her son will be missing out on a lot of fun experiences in high school and it's painful to witness the discrimination.

"I'm proud Luc is taking this step, and his father and I are with him all the way," the mother said.

Why Lee Signed the Law

The governor, on the other hand, said that transgender students, especially transgender girls, will affect women's sports and impact how cisgender girls could earn their sports scholarships. Proponents of the school sports ban believe that trans girls are at an advantage because some could still have higher testosterone levels that make them stronger players with better endurance than cisgender girls. However, opponents of the law said there is no scientific evidence to support this claim and said that it is part of a Slate of Hate against the LBGTQ+ community.

Tennessee is not the only state to come up with such legislation. West Virginia and Idaho's school sports ban is still under deliberation at the federal courts. Connecticut also has a similar law that was dismissed in court because its policies were not clear.

Incidentally, Lee has also signed a law banning trans students and trans teaching staff from using school restrooms with their gender identity. Two students have sued the state for its discriminatory school bathroom law in August.

Related Article: Gavin Grimm: School Board to Pay $1.3 Million in Anti-Transgender Bathroom Policy Lawsuit

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