Gov. Phil Murphy's administration is coming to the defense of transgender student in West Virginia who has been banned from joining her school's all-girls sports teams.

New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin filed an amicus brief in support of the student's lawsuit challenging a West Virginia state law that bans transgender students from joining sports teams that align with their gender identity. The law was passed in 2021.

The ACLU, which helped bring the lawsuit in 2021, says 11-year-old Becky Pepper-Jackson "comes from a family of avid runners and was looking forward to trying out for the girls’ cross-country team as she prepared to start middle school."

Photo Credit: ACLU
Photo Credit: ACLU

Pepper-Jackson is quoted by the ACLU as saying she comes from a family of runners, and just want to run. "I know how hurtful a law like this is to all kids like me who just want to play sports with their classmates, and I’m doing this for them," she says, "Trans kids deserve better.”

On Tuesday, New Jersey's attorney general joined 17 other state's attorneys general in supporting the continuation of Pepper-Jackson's suit.

11-yr-old Becky Pepper-Jackson. Seen here with her mother, Heather Jackson. (Photo credit:
11-yr-old Becky Pepper-Jackson. Seen here with her mother, Heather Jackson. (Photo credit:

In his message to the court, Platkin argued the law, HB 3293, has the sole function "to exclude and stigmatize transgender girls like B.P.J.," and argued it violates federal equal protection laws.

Photo Credit: Edwin Torres, NJ Governor's office
Photo Credit: Edwin Torres, NJ Governor's office

Platkin and his fellow attorneys general are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to intervene and overturn a lower court dismissal of Pepper-Jackson's lawsuit.

On Twitter, Platkin wrote, "Prejudice on the field, court, or track is illegal in NJ and should be nationwide. Today we're fighting West Virginia's ban on transgender athletes."

Gov. Phil Murphy has been aggressive in defending LGBTQ rights in New Jersey, especially non-binary and transgender individuals.

Murphy recently announced the creation of a state-run website that serves as a portal to connect transgender residents with legal, health and mental health services.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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