Three female high school athletes from Connecticut have filed a federal discrimination complaint with the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights arguing that the state's policy, which allows students to participate in sports based on their gender identity, puts them at a competitive disadvantage. The girls are being represented by the conservative Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom.
The suit claims that transgender athletes have been easily winning track and field events throughout the state, which can hurt other competitors' chances of getting college scholarships.
One of the girls who filed the suit, Selina Soule, says that she was demoralized after losing a 55-meter dash to a transgender athlete.
"We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it's demoralizing," she said. "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."
The lawsuit also suggests that the policy is a violation of Title IX rules.
"Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field," said Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. "Women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides. 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."
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which oversees high school sports in the state, says that their policy complies with the state's anti-discrimination law and Title IX.
"The CIAC is committed to equity in providing opportunities to student-athletes in Connecticut," CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini said in a written statement. "We take such matters seriously, and we believe that the current CIAC policy is appropriate under both Connecticut law and Title IX."
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