Three female high school athletes filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to prevent transgender athletes from competing in girls sports.
Chelsea Mitchell, a senior at Canton High School, Selina Soule, a senior at Glastonbury High School and Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School are complaining that competing against biologically male athletes has denied them the chance to win medals and achieve scholarship opportunities.
”Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” said Smith, who is the daughter of former Major League pitcher Lee Smith. ”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.”
The lawsuit centers on two transgender sprinters, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who have frequently outperformed their cisgender competitors were born biologically male but identify as female.
They have combined to win 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017, according to the lawsuit.
The three plaintiffs have competed directly against them, almost always losing to Miller and usually behind Yearwood.
”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.”
Miller, a senior at Bloomfield High School, issued statements fervently defending her right to run in girls’ events.
”I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I no longer want to remain silent, 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.” She said.
Yearwood, the second transgender who is also a senior at Cromwell High School said in her own statement that she is also a girl and that she has been hurt by the efforts to tear down her successes.
”I will never stop being me! 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!” she said.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it will represent the transgender teens and defend the Connecticut policy in court. Attorney Chase Strangio, deputy director for Trans Justice with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said transgender girls also are protected by Title IX.
”The idea that the law only protects the individuals with XX chromosomes as compared to individuals with XY chromosomes is found nowhere in the legislative history of Title IX, in any implementing regulation or in any other aspect of the interpretation of Title IX over the last 50 years by the courts,” he said.
The attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom is asking the court to prevent the transgender girls from competing while the lawsuit moves forward.
Connecticut is one of 17 states that allowed transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions in 2019, according to Transathlete.com, which tracks state policies in high school sports across the country. Eight states had restrictions that make it difficult for transgender athletes to compete while in school, such requiring athletes to compete under the gender on their birth certificate, or allowing them to participate only after going through sex reassignment procedures or hormone therapies, according to Transathlete.com.
Yearwood and Miller have said they are still in the process of transitioning but have declined to provide details.
source: PAT Eaton-Robb (AP Sports Writer)