Five middle school girls who refused to play against trans competitor banned from sport

"All should commend these young athletes for putting their personal performances aside to demonstrate their discontent with an unjust result that affects them personally."

Five female West Virginia middle school athletes have been banned from taking part in track and field events after refusing to compete against a trans-identifying biological male on April 18, a new lawsuit filed by their parents has revealed.

Governor Patrick Morrisey submitted an amicus brief in support of the parents, and vowed to do whatever he could to defend the quintet.

According to the lawsuit, the parents of the Lincoln Middle School student athletes were informed by Principal Lori Scott on April 25 that their children would not be allowed to compete in a track meet scheduled for April 27.

"Without an injunction," the suit argued, "the minor student athletes will not be permitted to engage in athletic competitions" and "will continue to be punished for engaging in constitutionally protected speech and expression."

One of the parents was told that their daughter had been barred from competing because she had failed to do her job at the previous meet, which was "to score points for the track team." Also noted was the student athletes' appearance at a press conference on April 24 alongside women's sports advocate Riley Gaines and Gov. Morrisey.

hese girls have done nothing to lead anyone to believe that they would represent their school in an inappropriate manner," Morrisey wrote in the brief, submitted April 26. "Quite to the contrary: they have, in truth, represented their school exceptionally well by demonstrating their personal objections in a clear but nondisruptive protest action and then providing a clear, concise explanation for that protest at a public press conference."

"Rather than being punished for their conduct or being sidelined in an effort to score points," he added, "all should commend these young athletes for putting their personal performances aside to demonstrate their discontent with an unjust result that affects them personally and within that event. There can be no more direct and connected protest within the sports context. And that expression, along with their attendance at a press conference with political figures addressing their protests, are protected activities."

The student athletes' protest was peaceful, and did not disrupt the event, which the trans-identifying biological male in question, Becky Pepper-Jackson, went on to win.

Just two days earlier, the Four Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a West Virginia law that required athletes to compete according to their biological sex from being applied to Pepper-Jackson.
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