Middle school boy who identifies as girl displaces over 100 female track athletes

Athletes compete in the 5,000-meter final during the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field on April 23, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon.
Athletes compete in the 5,000-meter final during the Oregon Relays at Hayward Field on April 23, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. | Getty Images/Steph Chambers

A middle school boy allowed to compete on a girls’ track team has displaced over 100 female athletes more than 280 times, depriving several girls of spots in conference championships, according to a recent court motion.

Attorneys representing West Virginia and the Christian legal advocacy group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, filed the motion Tuesday with the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The motion asks the court to suspend an injunction holding up the full implementation of a state law restricting participation on athletic teams by biological sex. 

According to the document, trans student Becky Pepper-Jackson — referred to as B.P.J. in the motion — has advanced in athletic skill and is out-competing the girls. 

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The appeals court had previously granted the student’s request in 2021 to block the West Virginia law and allow Pepper-Jackson to compete as a girl, arguing that not one “single person” would be harmed by the injunction. However, the motion argues that the injunction has harmed dozens of young athletes. 

“West Virginia passed its women’s sports law to protect female athletes, requiring males to compete on teams consistent with their sex. This path is legal, logical, and longstanding,” ADF Vice President of Litigation Strategy and Center for Conscience Initiatives Jonathan Scruggs said in a Wednesday statement. “In light of the consequential new facts in this lawsuit, we’re urging the 4th Circuit to allow West Virginia to enforce its validly enacted law that protects female athletes and their athletic opportunities.”

Bridgeport Middle School did not immediately respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment.

Becky Pepper-Jackson competed in discus and shot-put events last spring, with the motion noting that the male student is “throwing farther than ever before — and improving much faster — than biologically female classmates.” The male student has become one of the top throwers in girls’ shot put and discus, making him one of the few athletes able to advance to the conference championship.

During the championship, the male athlete finished fourth in the discus and sixth in the shot put, beating out other female athletes. Over the spring alone, Pepper-Jackson beat over 100 girls, displacing them more than 280 times, according to the motion. He also consistently ranks in the top 10 at track-and-field events. 

“When you ignore biological reality and allow males to compete on girls’ sports teams, girls are harmed and denied athletic opportunities — even in middle school,” ADF Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer said in a statement. “This male athlete’s athletic success demonstrates that the injunction against West Virginia’s women’s sports law is undeniably causing multiple girls to suffer, and we urge the 4th Circuit to take immediate action and restore a fair playing field for female athletes.” 

In April 2021, the West Virginia Legislature passed House Bill 3293, the Save Women’s Sports Act. Judge Joseph Goodwin, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton, initially struck it down in July 2021 before reversing his decision in January, dissolving his injunction against the law. 

A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court later reinstated the block against the act in February. The U.S. Supreme Court later declined to review the case last April. 

Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the dissent, objected to the apparent lack of reasoning for why the injunction was allowed to remain in effect. The justice wrote that it was “true that West Virginia allowed the District Court’s injunction to go unchallenged for nearly 18 months before seeking emergency relief” and that it was “a wise rule in general that a litigant whose claim of urgency is belied by its own conduct should not expect discretionary emergency relief from a court.”

“But in the circumstances present here — where a divided panel of a lower court has enjoined a duly enacted state law on an important subject without a word of explanation, notwithstanding that the District Court granted summary judgment to the State based on a fact-intensive record — the State is entitled to relief,” he continued.

In a May op-ed, West Virginia middle schooler Taylor Allen said she wants the law to go into effect. Allen, who plays basketball and runs track, filed a brief alongside other female athletes in support of protecting women’s sports. 

“We all believe — along with the filers of 14 other briefs — that girls’ and women’s sports can only survive if they are reserved for females, and that the law ensuring that survival in my state should be upheld,” she wrote. 

The young athlete noted that even in middle school, boys have biological advantages over girls, which she argued makes a difference in athletics. In addition to taking opportunities away from girls, Allen highlighted the safety concerns associated with forcing girls to play against biological males who are stronger and faster. 

“None of this is fair. Allowing boys to take over girls’ teams means that, no matter how hard I work, I can’t be the best on my team,” Allen stated. “That’s incredibly discouraging to me, and I bet it’s discouraging to girls of all ages who have worked so hard for a fair shot.”

“That’s why I’m standing up now to be heard. I want the fair chance to compete and to win, for me and for others. I just hope our voice won’t be ignored.”

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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