Debevoise Secures Major Victory in Lawsuit Challenging Arizona’s Ban on Transgender Girls Playing Sports

21 July 2023

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has secured a major victory on behalf of two transgender girls, Jane Doe and Megan Roe, in their challenge to an Arizona state law that prohibits transgender girls competing on girls’ sports teams regardless of their individual circumstances. On July 20, 2023, a federal judge in Arizona issued a preliminary injunction finding that the law likely violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, and that it would inflict irreparable harm on Jane and Megan unless enjoined. The Court ordered that both plaintiffs immediately be allowed to play on the girls’ sports teams at their schools.

Together with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Osborn Maledon P.A., Debevoise brought suit in April 2023 in the District of Arizona in Tucson on behalf of Jane, Megan, and their families, who filed under pseudonyms to protect their privacy. Jane is an 11-year-old girl who wants to play soccer, basketball, and cross-country when she enters middle school this July, and Megan is a 15-year-old girl who hopes to try out for her high school girls’ volleyball team. Jane and Megan were both barred from playing the sports they love as a result of this law.

“The Court’s well-reasoned decision exposes the lack of any legitimate justification for this discriminatory law, which inflicts severe and irreparable harm on transgender girls like Megan and Jane,” said associate Justin R. Rassi. “We are very happy that, as a result of this ruling, Jane and Megan will be immediately able to resume playing sports with their friends.”

The Debevoise team was led by Justin R. Rassi, supervised by Jyotin Hamid, and includes associates Amy Zimmerman, Ardis Strong, Anjali Mehta, and Prakriti Luthra, and summer associates Alexi Comella and Gabriel Siegel.

To read more about the case, see NCLR’s press release. NCLR is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, legislation, policy, and public education.