Freshman Lindsay Hecox is looking forward to a new semester at Boise State University, where she hopes to represent the school in cross-country next fall.
But Idaho Governor Brad Little stands in her way. He signed a bill banning transgender student-athletes at all levels into law on the evening of March 30. Having already taken a stand by lobbying lawmakers, the soft-spoken 19-year-old then put her name on a lawsuit filed April 15 by a consortium led by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Hecox is transgender. And for this California girl now living in Boise, the case of Hecox v. Little represents a critical front in a national battle against discrimination.
“I realize how much this will impact me if this law passes,” she told Outsports. “It’s not just that I don’t get to run. This sets things up for more anti-trans laws in the future.”
Running has been a critical piece of her journey past and present, Hecox said in an exclusive interview on the Outsports podcast, “The Trans Sporter Room” this week. She explained how her passion for running in high school helped her come to terms with her gender identity.
“I didn’t know I was trans until the last couple months of high school, but I did know that running was keeping me fit and boosting the happiness to continue,” Hecox said. “I hadn’t realized how connected my passion for running was to my gender identity until very recently when all this started happening. I like to believe that when you are competing in sports you don’t have to think about how different you are, but on competing as best you can.”
Hecox began this fight along with advocates and activists protesting House Bill 500. If it becomes law on July 1, it will mandate a ban of transgender participation, and allow provisions for gender verification that haven’t been seen in competitive athletics in over two decades.
Prior to putting her name on the lawsuit, she testified against the bill to an Idaho Senate Committee. On May 14, she put her story, thoughts, and emotions out to a wider national audience in Teen Vogue.
In a poignant and resolute op-ed, she shared how she felt out of place, but found her place, and why she defends her place in sport and society. “I decided to fight — for myself and for all the trans and intersex student athletes across Idaho,” she wrote, “as well as for all Idaho girls and women athletes, who shouldn’t be subject to invasive sex verification exams in order to play school sports.”
Hecox has found support from student groups across Idaho, as well as four of the state’s largest firms, and from some of the biggest names in sports. She is also training hard to be ready for her chance to don Broncos blue and orange and race for her school, if the law does not go into effect.
“If I’m on that start line with that Boise State uniform and my teammates beside me, I would be so happy and motivated to do the best I can,” she said. “If you’re not on a team you don’t really get the competitive juices going and I love running so much that I will put my all into whatever race I’m in.”
Click here for the full interview on this week’s edition of “The Trans Sporter Room”. You can also download, listen and subscribe on Apple’s Podcast page as well as on Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you’ll find Outsports podcasts.