Justice Department Weighs In on Transgender High School Track Runners Case In Connecticut
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has signed a statement of interest concerning a federal lawsuit over whether or not transgender high school athletes should be allowed to compete under the gender which they identify.
The statement argues that the policy set by the Connecticut Athletic Conference, which allows transgender students to do just that and also follows state law and Title IX statutes, should have only girls who were born female to compete against that specific gender.
“Under CIAC's interpretation of Title IX, however, schools may not account for the real physiological differences between men and women. Instead, schools must have certain biological males - namely, those who publicly identify as female - compete against biological females,” Barr and other Justice Department officials wrote, according to the Daily Mail. “In so doing, CIAC deprives those women of the single-sex athletic competitions that are one of the marquee accomplishments of Title IX.”
Three Connecticut high school track and field runners, 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 filed a lawsuit against the CIAC, accusing the conference of allowing two transgender sprinters, Terry Miller of Bloomfield and Andraya Yearwood of Cromwell High School, who have gone on to win 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017 and consistently outperformed the plaintiffs.
Soule, Mitchell and Smith say they are being unfairly deprived of chances to win because they are forced to compete against athletes who identify as transgender, but are biologically male.
“Males will always have inherent physical advantages over comparably talented and trained girls - that's the reason we have girls sports in the first place,” said their attorney, Christiana Holcomb. “And a male's belief about his gender doesn't eliminate those advantages.”
Miller and Yearwood, however, have defended their stance to participate in girls’ running events. The American Civil Liberties Union, whose lawyers represent the two runners said the Justice Department wants to ”make clear that it does not believe girls who are trans enjoy protections under federal law.“