In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, three track and field athletes in Connecticut argue they have been robbed of “honors and opportunities” after continually losing races to biological males who identify as females.
Transgender athletes Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood have won 15 state championship titles over the past three years. Both are biological males who identify as female, but have not completed the sex change process.
“Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” argues Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School. “That biological unfairness doesn’t go away because of what someone believes about gender identify. All girls deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field.”
The lawsuit, filed against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, targets a state policy that allows trans women to participate in women’s sports as long as the athlete’s gender identify is verified as “bona fide and not for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in competitive athletics.”
The plaintiffs, represented by conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom, see the policy as a violation of Title IX – a 1972 law that established female sporting teams at schools.
“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” argues ADF legal counsel Christiana Holcomb. “Forcing them to compete against boys isn’t fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities. Having separate boys’ and girls’ sports has always been based on biological differences, not what people believe about their gender.”
As described in the lawsuit, men have several biological differences that give them an advantage in sports: larger hearts and lungs, more muscle mass, stronger and longer bones, higher myoglobin concentration, and a taller average height.
Despite the evidence, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference insists the policy allowing trans women to compete in women’s sports is “appropriate under both state and federal law” and complies with the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
The ACLU, defending the two trans athletes, frames the lawsuit as discriminatory.
“The purpose of high school athletics is to support inclusion,” argues Chase Strangio, head of the ACLU’s LBGT & HIV Project. “Efforts to undermine Title IX by claiming it doesn’t apply to a subset of girls will ultimately hurt all students and compromise the work of ending the long legacy of sex discrimination in sports.”
To highlight their argument, the ACLU released a touching statement from Ms. Yearwood about how much she loves running: “I have known two things for most of my life: I am a girl and I love to run…There is no shortage of discrimination that I face as a young black woman who is transgender…This is what keeps me going.”
In spite of a request from Alliance Defending Freedom that Yearwood and Miller stop competing while the lawsuit is underway, both athletes were allowed to participate in the state’s indoor track championships this week.
Connecticut is one of 17 states where trans high school students are allowed to participate in sports without restrictions. Eight states have rules that make it difficult for trans athletes to compete and at least 14 states are working on legislation to prohibit student athletes from competing outside their biological gender.
Editor’s Note: If we want to distinguish women’s sport as women’s sports, we have to recognize the difference between men and women. Pretending confusion about what constitutes a woman is political correctness at its worst.