Despite courts being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have been writing lawsuits challenging new anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the country. In Idaho, there has been two pieces of legislation passed into law that ban transgender women and girls from playing on high school and college teams and prevents trans people from changing the sex on their birth certificates.
Attorneys at the ACLU argue that a judge needs to be hearing these cases, as these bills cause great harm to trans people and cannot wait until the courts reopen. HB500, the law barring female trans athletes from participating in school sports, is seen as one of the most pressing challenges to LGBTQ+ rights at this moment. Senior staff attorney, Gabriel Arkles, emphasized the urgency in fighting for trans athletes, stating that “We will absolutely be arguing that it’s essential because if we don’t get a decision in time for fall sports, that’s going to have a really direct and irreparable impact on trans athletes.”
Lambda Legal is working to challenge the other Idaho Law, HB509, which prevents trans people from updating their birth certificates. Lambda Legal won a federal lawsuit in 2018 on the behalf of two trans women that were denied the ability to change their birth certificates. Due to this, Idaho’s new law is in direct violation of this legal precedent.
During the current pandemic, outside of these legal challenges attorneys are also filing numerous petitions to free LGBTQ+ and HIV-positive people from prisons and ICE facilities.
Sources: Logo News 4/6/20; Feminist News 3/17/20; Idaho House of Representatives 2/13/20; Idaho House of Representatives 2/13/20;