Becky Pepper-Jackson, shown here at, the Lambda Legal Liberty Awards in 2023, is a focus of a new lawsuit from those who don't want her to play the game. | Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Lambda Legal

Two weeks after a federal appeals court affirmed her place on her girls middle school track team, the name “Becky Pepper-Jackson” may be heard in a courtroom again.

This time, the lawsuit was brought forward by some people who don’t want her in the game.

Parents representing several middle schoolers have filed suit in a Harrison County, W.V. circuit court. The middle-school children of the parents had protested the 13-year-old trans girl competing in a county championship meet in West Virginia last month.

Their contention centers around the five protesting student-athletes, all representing Lincoln Middle School in Shinnston, W.V., being held out of the Mid Mountain 10 Championships on April 27.

According to the suit, they were not allowed to compete as a form of disciplinary action after they were apparently punished by the school’s track coach at practice earlier in the week.

All five were at a press conference called by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to show support for the protests and to highlight that he would go to the U.S. Supreme Court to directly challenge the federal ruling that allows Jackson to compete. Noted anti-trans activist and former collegiate swim athlete Riley Gaines was also in attendance.

One of the five protesting student-athletes, Emmy Salerno, addressed the press conference, although her parents opted out the legal action.

“About two year ago the transgender movement started becoming more and more popular,” the eighth-grader stated. “I started to think that this can’t be right and all of my teammates started to get beat by a boy. This made me feel like I had to do something.”

West Virginia eighth-grader Emmy Salerno cited Gaines (left) as a mentor in building a protest against Pepper-Jackson during a meet April 18 — West Virginia — photo by

Salerno, along with Gaines and West Virginia Attorney General Morrisey, did not address Pepper-Jackson by name, but did misgender her throughout their remarks at the press conference.

One day after the parents were notified, they filed suit and Morrisey drafted an amicus brief supporting them. It cites that the suspension violated the student-athletes’ First Amendment Rights and went against due process called for by West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission, the state’s governing body for middle school and high school sports.

“The WVSSAC did not direct that they be removed from rosters for tomorrow’s
track-and-field meet; even if it had, the sanction is beyond heavy-handed,” Morrisey wrote in his amicus brief. “This categorical bar is not a matter of team discipline; it is a matter of condemning protest behavior.”

According to the lawsuit, and reported by a number of outlets, unless an injunction is given the protesting student “will not be permitted to engage in athletic competition” perhaps beyond the last Saturday’s meet. However, all five did participate in the South Harrison Middle School Invite Monday. Salerno won the shot put event and helped Lincoln win the girl’s team title in the four-team meet.

This is where the situation gets confusing. There is the constitutional right to protest and the matter of due process in regulation, but what does this mean for the lawsuit if it was just a one-meet suspension? Given that all five have competed since the protest and the initial fallout, it begs the question of what happens next.

What is clear is what this could mean for an Attorney General of West Virginia with political ambitions. Morrisey is in the middle of a tense fight for the Republican nomination for governor, and the polls are razor thin with the primary looming May 14.

Becky Pepper-Jackson is at the center of all of this, even if detractors won’t say her name but demean her every chance they get. Never mind that she is affirmed as a girl in every facet of her life and state law. Never mind that she has never seen any part of a male puberty, although Morrisey tried to describe her as a “hulking male” in an interview last week.

She was also absent from last weekend’s Mid Mountain 10 conference meet although her Bridgeport Middle School team did participate. Outsports reached out to school officials on her status for the remainder of the season but did not get a reply.