Media Contact

Samuel Crankshaw, Communications Manager, ACLU of Kentucky  |  (646) 820-4548 (call/text)

April 13, 2022

Credit: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-KY spokesperson Samuel Crankshaw regarding new law to ban trans girls from girls' sports, Senate Bill 83:

The Kentucky General Assembly today overrode Governor Beshear's veto of Senate Bill 83, and voted to ban trans girls from girls’ sports. This bill is a solution in search of a non-existent problem that is rooted in hate and unconstitutional. By enacting SB83, lawmakers are jeopardizing our children’s mental health, physical well-being, and ability to access educational opportunities comparable to their peers.

Transgender and non-binary Kentuckians still have rights and are protected from discrimination under the US Constitution and other federal and state laws. Schools and athletics organizations must follow these laws and not exclude transgender students from participating fully in school activities.

Senate Bill 83 violates students' Constitutional rights to equal protection and privacy. It also violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act by imposing a wholesale ban on transgender girls from participating in athletics consistent with their gender identity. Similar bans have been blocked in federal courts in Idaho and West Virginia. A challenge to including trans girls was dismissed in Connecticut.

Senate Bill 83 will ban girls and women from sixth grade through college. This could jeopardize colleges' and universities' participation in organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association because Senate Bill 83 could force Kentucky teams to violate NCAA policies. 
Trans kids, just like all kids, simply want to participate in the activities they love, including athletics. Trans students participate in sports for the same reasons other young people do: to challenge themselves, improve fitness, and be part of a team. Excluding trans students deprives them of opportunities available to their peers and sends the message they are not worthy of a full life. 
Proponents of SB83 provided no examples of any Kentucky students being harmed by including trans girls in girls’ sports, even when directly asked in a Senate committee hearing. Lawmakers have also ignored the positions of leading women’s athletics organizations that support inclusion, including the Women’s Sports Foundation and the National Women’s Law Center
While there are no instances of inclusion causing harm, we know for a fact that real Kentucky children will be harmed if SB83 becomes law. Senators heard from multiple trans athletes, including Fischer Wells, a 12-year-old girl who recruited friends to start her school’s field hockey team. The House Education Committee did not even allow opponents of SB83 to testify and turned Fischer away after she traveled to the Capitol to share how SB83 would affect her. Committee Chair Huff did allow The Family Foundation to testify.

Lawmakers in both chambers have now ignored Fischer's pleas to let her play with her friends and voted to kick her off her team; both chambers have now done it twice.
Transgender students already live and go to school in Kentucky, play sports, and enjoy time with their friends. They deserve the chance to succeed and thrive like any other student. The adults in the General Assembly should focus on what students, teachers, and schools really need, rather than single out vulnerable children to score cheap political points.
To all the students who will be affected by this law: we stand by you and will not stop fighting. You are cherished. You are loved. You belong.