Three female runners filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday to fight a Connecticut policy that allows biological males to participate in girls’ sports.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom, the policy adopted by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has caused girls in competitive high school track events to lose places on their teams, victories, opportunities to compete at higher levels and exposure to recruitment and scholarships because males who identify as females often outperform them.
Selina Soule, Alanna Smith and Chelsea Mitchell have experienced these disadvantages first hand. Mitchell would have won the 2019 state championship in the women’s 55-meter indoor track competition, but two biological males took first and second place. Their ability to participate cost her the gold medal.
Soule and Smith said that they also haven’t been able to receive medals or opportunities to level up because of male involvement in their sport.
Since 2017, two males have been allowed to compete in girls’ high-school track events in Connecticut. They have collectively taken 15 women’s state championship titles, all of which were previously held by females.
ADF reported that these males have taken 85 advancement opportunities from female athletes in the last three seasons.
Soule filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut which argued that the CIAC’s policy jeopardizes the girl’s Title IX protections because it creates excessive odds against them.
“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,” ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said in the news release. “Connecticut’s policy violates that law and reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women.”
The lawsuit noted an O-Ed written by a transgender athlete who argued that ‘learning to lose’ is a part of competitive sports, but argued that there is a difference between character-building loss and being robbed of the opportunity to experience victory.
The lawsuit further argued that the biological differences between males and females are not “not stereotypes, ‘social constructs,’ or relics of past discrimination,” but instead real factors that play into their ability to compete against each other.
“As a result of these many inherent physiological differences between men and women after puberty, male athletes consistently achieve records 10-20% higher than comparably fit and trained women across almost all athletic events, with even wider consistent disparities in long-term endurance events and contests of sheer strength such as weight-lifting,” the complaint said.
Because track-and-field events are purely about the physical abilities of the athletes, the physiological differences between males and females create notable disparities in the state records.
“No one doubts that top male and female high school athletes are equally committed to excelling in their sport, and train equally hard,” the lawsuit stated. “Yet boys and men consistently run faster and jump higher and farther than girls and women.”
Holcomb noted that girls and boys have been separated because of biological differences, not athlete’s beliefs about their gender, because it’s the physical differences that impact fair competition.
She believes that girls deserve an equal playing field.
“Girls deserve the same opportunity as boys to excel and chase their dreams. Allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports shatters those dreams and steals opportunities,” ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner said.
“It’s dispiriting to girls competing against boys to know what the outcome likely is before the race even starts. The government shouldn’t rob these girls of the opportunity not only to win, but to earn college scholarships and launch their own careers in athletics, coaching, and more.”
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