Wyoming Equality fighting to protect transgender student athletes

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CHEYENNE — On March 17, Gov. Mark Gordon released the first explicit call to treat transgender children in Wyoming with equality and respect. That this statement comes in the midst of SF 133 — Student Eligibility in Interscholastic Sports — passing into law, doesn’t take from its historical significance. 

The passage of this bill anticipates and even demands a lawsuit in order to trigger the statewide eligibility commission. We join the governor in wondering why this option wasn’t pursued rather than the “overly draconian” measure that will ban some Wyoming children from participating in sports. 

Wyoming Equality Director Sara Burlingame responded to the bill’s passage by saying, “We are confident that the law will recognize the promise of Wyoming’s Constitution: ‘No discrimination between pupils. In none of the public schools so established and maintained shall distinction or discrimination be made on account of sex, race or color.’ The Bostock decision clearly stated that gender identity was encompassed in the definition of sex. The tragedy is, we haven’t had to rely on court cases and statutes in the past: We’ve treated our children with the dignity, respect and individuality that all Wyoming students deserve.” 

Brandi S., the mother of a transgender teen, responded to the passage of the bill by saying, “It is frightening to know that there is only so much that we can do to protect our child and her self-esteem from a sometimes harsh and cruel world. What we do know, however, is that living in secrecy and shame is not good for any of us. God made our child, and our belief is that God does not make mistakes. God gave us this child and trusts us to raise her with His supreme guidance. We will be seeking that guidance as well as our Wyoming-made values as we consider joining a lawsuit to protect our daughter and ensure that her constitutionally protected rights are enforced.”