West Virginia Begs Supreme Court To Enforce Transgender Sports Ban, Wyoming In Limbo

While Wyoming's ban on biological males in girls' school sports waits for Gov. Mark Gordon to accept or reject it, West Virginia and 19 other states have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let them enforce their bans.

Clair McFarland

March 13, 20234 min read

Trans 3 13 23 scaled
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter

While Wyoming’s transgender sports ban waits for action on the governor’s desk, West Virginia has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to let it enforce its own ban.  

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Thursday submitted to the high court an emergency application to vacate a lower court’s injunction on that state’s transgender sports ban.  

If his request is granted, the state would be able to enforce its 2021 Save Women’s Sports Act. The act bans biological males from competing in girls’ school sports, but does not ban biological females from competing in boys’ sports.  

“Student athletes everywhere … have found themselves falling behind or pushed aside for biologically male athletes,” the court filing says.  

Other States In, But Not Wyoming 

On Monday, 19 other states joined West Virginia’s cause, backing it with their own joint filing in the Supreme Court.  

Wyoming did not join the other states, likely because it does not yet have a ban to defend.  

Gov. Mark Gordon has until March 18 to act upon Senate File 133, which passed the Wyoming Legislature and would ban biological males from girls’ school sports in grades seven through 12.  

Gordon may veto the ban, sign it into law or let it become law without his signature.

Also joining the lawsuit in West Virginia’s favor is a coalition of 67 female athletes, coaches, sports officials and parents of female athletes.  

ACLU Of Wyoming Urging Veto 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming urged the public in a Friday Twitter post to ask Gordon to veto Senate File 133, saying “this bill does nothing to help Wyoming and everything to make people feel unwelcome.” 

Also within that thread the state ACLU chapter posted an edited image of a “Welcome to Wyoming” sign featuring an asterisked statement below the word “Wyoming” that says “as long as you’re white and straight. All others turn back now.”  

(ACLU of Wyoming image via Twitter)

Becky Wants To Compete In Girls’ Track 

The West Virginia law is now blocked because an 11-year-old transgender child named Becky, who is now 12, sued for the right to compete in girls’ track. Becky evoked both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the federal Title IX education law.  

West Virginia’s ban also relies on language from Title IX, which promises that people will not be discriminated against on the basis of sex. When it was written 50 years ago Title IX established a separate sports lane for women and girls.  

West Virginia’s ban has been in judicial somersaults since its passage. A state district court initially blocked it, but then decided that it complies with both the U.S. Constitution and Title IX and allowed it to go into effect.  

Then the U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit, undid a district court decision and blocked the law again, with one of the three judges dissenting.  

Morrisey called the move “radical.” 

“Nothing warrants the Fourth Circuit majority’s radical approach, and this Court should vacate its unreasoned and incorrect injunction,” reads the emergency request. “Biological differences between males and females matter in sports.”  


The national American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Becky in the case along with LGBTQ firm Lambda Legal, fired back in a statement on Twitter deriding Morrisey’s plea.  

“It’s unconscionable that the West Virginia’s attorney general wants to keep 12-year-old Becky from playing on her middle school’s track team with her peers,” the statement reads. “We will fiercely defend Becky’s right to play – and we urge the Court to do the same.”  

Becky’s legal team has until March 20 to respond to Morrisey’s application.

Share this article



Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter