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Supreme Court of the United States

West Virginia State Soccer Player Stands Up for Women’s Sports

October 6, 2021

Along with several other states, West Virginia is taking a stand to make sure women and girls have a level playing field.

When it comes to secondary and collegiate athletics, West Virginia’s save women’s sports law makes sure males who identify as female cannot take a spot on any team from a deserving girl.

But (once again), a legal challenge has bene brough against these common-sense laws that protect equal opportunity, fairness and safety for women. .

Alliance Defending Freedom is asking to intervene in a lawsuit brought against West Virginia on behalf of Lainey Armistead, a collegiate soccer player at West Virginia State University.

Who: Lainey Armistead

Lainey Armistead is a junior at WVSU, and soccer is far more than “just a game” to her. She defines it as a “passion and a life-defining pursuit.”

“Soccer was like the air I breathed growing up. I first kicked a soccer ball at three years old—almost as soon as I could walk,” says Armistead in her Motion to Intervene. “I have made many sacrifices over the course of my athletic career to play the sport that I love. I have missed school dances, spring breaks, family events, and friends’ birthdays. I have given up my weekends and free time. I stay at school late for practice and get up early to train. But I make these sacrifices because I want to be the best that I can be. I want to win—not just for myself, but also for my teammates.”

Lainey plays left back for the Yellow Jackets and serves as team captain.

What: B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education

West Virginia joined Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Arkansas, and Florida, in passing legislation that keeps males from competing in women’s sports.

ADF is also representing two female track athletes who are intervening in a legal challenge to Idaho’s version of the Save Women’s Sports Act, as well as four different female athletes who are standing up to a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference that allows males to compete against girls.

When: September 2021 - Present

A save women’s sports law passed in April of 2021. A federal district judge temporarily blocked the law in July of 2021.

Where: West Virginia

The law was passed in the state of West Virginia. Lainey plays collegiate soccer at West Virginia State University.

Why: To Level the Playing Field 

A male’s belief about his gender doesn’t erase his physical advantages over female athletes, and girls deserve to compete on a level playing field.

“As one who grew up in a house full of brothers who played soccer, and a dad who coached soccer, Lainey is well-acquainted with the physical differences that give males an athletic performance advantage,” said ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “[S]occer is a rough contact sport: concussion, knee, and ankle injuries are common among female players. Add into the mix a male who races down the field at a faster pace, kicks the ball harder, and slams into other players with a larger physical frame, and the risk of injury to girls and women increases dramatically.”

Bottom Line : Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports destroys fair competition, safety on the field, and women’s athletic opportunities. When biological differences between men and women are ignored within our laws and culture, people get hurt. In this case, women.

Sign up to stay up to date on the fight to protect women’s sports.


Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

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