The battle over transgender individuals in high school athletics could be headed to the U.S. Department of Education, as three female track and field athletes in Connecticut have filed a complaint with the department’s Office of Civil Rights.
In the complaint, they allege that Connecticut’s policy of allowing athletes to compete under the gender they “identify” as is a violation of Title IX protections, stripping the girls of positions in competitions and possibly hindering their ability to obtain scholarships.
The case is being brought by the conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.
Christina Holcolmb, legal counsel for the ADF, had previously said in a statement that “[g]irls deserve to compete on a level playing field.”
“Women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides,” the statement said, according to CBS News.
“Allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women under this law. We shouldn’t force these young women to be spectators in their own sports.”
Holcomb appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Monday alongside Selina Soule.
According to The Daily Signal, Soule, who attends Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield, Connecticut, lost out on the chance for a spot in the state regionals when the first two spots in the 55-meter event were taken by biological males.
“No one in the state of Connecticut is happy about this, but no one has enough courage to speak up,” the 16-year-old Soule said.
High school athlete Selina Soule was outrun by two biological boys who were allowed to compete as females—keeping her from qualifying for a track event where she would’ve been seen by college coaches.
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) June 18, 2019
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allows students to participate in events depending on what gender they feel they identify as.
Unlike governing bodies at higher levels, the athletic conference does not require transgender athletes to have undergone hormone therapy before they compete. The conference says it will cooperate fully with any investigation by the Department of Education.
“The CIAC is committed to equity in providing opportunities to student athletes in Connecticut,” CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini said in a written statement, according to the Hartford Courant.
“We take such matters seriously, and we believe that the current CIAC policy is appropriate under both Connecticut law and Title IX.”
Soule is taking it seriously, too.
“I haven’t been the only one affected by this,” she told Carlson. “There have been countless other female athletes in the state of Connecticut, as well as my entire indoor track team. We missed out on winning the state open championship because of the team that the transgender athlete was on.”
Holcomb said the ADF is taking it seriously, too.
“Alliance Defending Freedom, on behalf of Selina and a couple of other brave female athletes, has filed or is in the process of filing a Title IX complaint asking the Department of Education to step in, to investigate, and to restore a level playing field for Selina,” Holcomb said during the interview.
The transgender athletes named in the complaint — Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood — are sprinters who have both “continue[d] to compete and excel in state track events,” according to the Hartford Courant.
“We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing,” Soule told reporters earlier this year.
“I fully support and am happy for these athletes for being true to themselves. They should have the right to express themselves in school, but athletics have always had extra rules to keep the competition fair.”
Bianca Stanescu, Soule’s mother, says she had circulated a petition “calling on the state legislature to require athletes to compete in sports based on their gender at birth, unless the athlete has undergone hormone therapy,” the Courant reported.
“We never got anywhere with the CIAC,” she told the newspaper. “The genders are segregated for a reason. They might as well just say women don’t exist as a category.”
And that’s the problem here. This isn’t about discrimination, it’s about fairness.
Even with hormone therapy, there’s evidence that biologically male competitors retain some level of advantage over biologically female ones. And in this case, hormone therapy isn’t even part of the equation.
Not all athletes are created equal, but that doesn’t mean we should emphasize these differences by refusing to acknowledge biology in any way, shape or form. By doing so, we completely negate the point of high school athletics.
If Title IX is still worth anything, it’s time for the Department of Education to step in.
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