A transgender woman was awarded $20,000 in damages last week by a Dakota County jury who found that the Minnesota Vixen female football team had wrongfully discriminated against the plaintiff.
Christina Ginther, who underwent gender-reassignment surgery to transition from a man to a woman, was prevented from playing on the Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL) team after teammates discovered that Ginther is transgender.
According to MPR, an attorney representing the Minnesota Vixen argued that league rules state that “a player may not play in the IWFL, unless they are now, and always have been, legally and medically a female, as determined by their birth certificate and driver’s license.”
Ginther first went public with the story in March 2017 after filing a discrimination lawsuit against the Minnesota Vixen, owner Laura Brown, and the IWFL.
“She said, ‘Well, your numbers were good. But in the process of drawing up player contracts, we looked at your social media and found out that you’re transgender,” Ginther recalled Brown saying.
“I hung up the phone and just felt violated,” Ginther said. “I mean, just the sense of, ‘I’m a freak. I’m a defective. I am not worthy to be with this team.’”
Ginther later joined the Minnesota Machine, part of the Women’s Football Alliance, which allows transgender players so long as they have received gender reassignment surgery, completed two years of hormone therapy, and have changed all legal documents, MPR explains.
Ginther’s attorney described the case as a landmark ruling, since it was the first time he could recall a jury ruling in favor of a transgender person in a business discrimination lawsuit under Minnesota’s Human Rights Act.
“These are the discriminatory things that happen to transgender people every day,” attorney Nicholas May told The Star Tribune. “Even these small things can create significant mental health and esteem issues for transgender people.”
“This was a jury of regular folks who came in, heard the evidence, and concluded that what happened here was wrong. It’s something that we as Minnesotans should be proud of,” May added.
MPR reports that Ginther has now retired from football.
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