A federal lawsuit was filed by the families of three female high school athletes to bar transgender students from participating in girls’ sports.
The families of the three Connecticut high school girls filed the lawsuit Wednesday and spoke at a news conference at the state capitol in Hartford, challenging the policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference which allows transgender athletes to compete.
Conservative not-for-profit organization Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the female students, Selina Soule, a senior at Glastonbury High School, Chelsea Mitchell, a senior at Canton High School, and Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School, WFSB reported. The group had previously filed a complaint with the Federal Department of Education.
“Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” Smith, the daughter of former Major League pitcher Lee Smith, said. “That biological unfairness doesn’t go away because of what someone believes about gender identity. All girls deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field.”
“Our dream is not to come in second or third place, but to win, fair and square,” Mitchell said. “All we’re asking for is a fair chance.”
The lawsuit, filed against the boards of education in Bloomfield, Cromwell, Glastonbury, Canton and Danbury, as well as the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, contends that the current policy “directly violates the requirements of Title IX.” Connecticut is one of 17 states allowing transgender high school athletes to compete without issuing any restrictions.
“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing them to compete against boys isn’t fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christiana Holcomb said in a statement.
“Having separate boys’ and girls’ sports has always been based on biological differences, not what people believe about their gender, because those differences matter for fair competition. And forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics,” Holcomb said.
But the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference argued that the policy is “appropriate under both state and federal law” and comes under the guidelines of the state’s anti-discrimination law.
Fox News reported:
All three plaintiffs have competed with, and almost always placed behind, two transgender sprinters, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood. Mitchell finished third in the 2019 state championship in the girls 55-meter indoor track competition behind Miller and Yearwood. The two Connecticut high school seniors, who were born biologically male but identify as female, have won 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races combined since 2017, the lawsuit said.
The American Civil Liberties Union argued that “this lawsuit is clearly about trans students, yet those students have no voice in the lawsuit. This is wrong.”
This lawsuit is clearly about trans students, yet those students have no voice in the lawsuit. This is wrong. We at the ACLU will be seeking to intervene in this lawsuit as a new party, to give trans students a voice.
— ACLU (@ACLU) February 12, 2020
Miller and Yearwood issued statements defending their right to participate.
“I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I no longer want to remain silent,” Miller, a senior at Bloomfield High School, said in a statement. “I am a girl and I am a runner. I participate in athletics just like my peers to excel, find community, and meaning in my life. It is both unfair and painful that my victories have to be attacked and my hard work ignored.”
“I will never stop being me!” Yearwood said. “I will never stop running! I hope that the next generation of trans youth doesn’t have to fight the fights that I have. I hope they can be celebrated when they succeed not demonized. For the next generation, I run for you!”
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut Wednesday argued that Title IX’s protections against sex-based discrimination are being threatened by allowing transgender students to compete.
“Inescapable biological facts of the human species [are] not stereotypes, ‘social constructs,’ or relics of past discrimination,” the suit read.
“In track-and-field events that do not use equipment, the physiological differences between males and females after puberty are stark in the record books,” the complaint stated. “No one doubts that top male and female high school athletes are equally committed to excelling in their sport, and train equally hard. Yet boys and men consistently run faster and jump higher and farther than girls and women.”
“We’ve missed out on medals and opportunities to compete,” Soule said.“Time is slipping away. Graduation is just around the corner. We won’t be sidelined, and we won’t be silenced.”