FARRAGUT, Tenn. (WATE) — A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Farragut freshman against the state of Tennessee for its law that bans transgender students from participating in interscholastic sports teams that match their gender identity.
Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Tennessee filed the lawsuit challenging the state law. They say the 14-year-old at Farragut High School wants to try out for the boys golf team, but due to the law, he’s barred from doing so. The law says participation must be based on sex at the time of the student’s birth indicated on the student’s original birth certificate regardless of their gender identity.
“I was really looking forward to trying out for the boys golf team and if I made it, training and competing with and learning from other boys and improving my game,” the freshman said, “Then, to have the Legislature pass a law that singled out me and kids like me to keep us from being part of a team, that crushed me, it hurt very much. I just want to play, like any other kid.”
His mother says she’s angry that her son is missing out.
“It made me, and still makes me, so angry,” she said. “A mother wants to see their kid happy, thriving, enjoying being a kid. High school sports are an important part of that. I know how much (he) was looking forward to playing on the boys golf team.
“It’s heartbreaking to see him miss out on this high school experience, and it is painful for a parent to see their child subjected to discrimination because of who they are. I’m proud (he) is taking this step, and his father and I are with him all the way.”
The ACLU of Tennessee claims the law violates equal rights protections under the 14th Amendment, as well as Title IX. WATE 6 On Your Side has reached out to Gov. Bill Lee’s office for comment and has not heard back yet.