WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three female high school athletes have sued over a Connecticut policy allowing males identifying as females to compete in girls’ sports.
The three high school students— Selina Soule of Glastonbury High School, senior Chelsea Mitchell of Canton High School, and sophomore Alanna Smith of Danbury High School— are all track-and-field athletes.
In a complaint filed on Wednesday in a federal district court, the students say they were denied an opportunity for fair competition under Title IX, after a state school policy began allowing males identifying as females to compete in girls’ high school sports.
At the state’s 2019 championships, two males identifying as females won first and second place for the 55-meter indoor track competition; Soule failed to qualify for the finals of the competition by one place.
“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing them to compete against boys isn’t fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities,” said Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel with the group Alliance Defending Freedom which represents the girls.
In 2017, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) instituted a new policy allowing transgender student athletes to compete in the sport of their “preferred gender identity,” not their biological sex. The conference includes many of the state’s Catholic schools.
Since then, two males identifying as female have won 15 women’s state championship titles, and a single male has set 10 state records that were previously held by 10 different girls.
The female track competitors first filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in June of 2019.
The Title IX complaint in Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools says that “biological differences” and not gender identity have always determined sex-specific sports “because those differences matter for fair competition.” Title IX mandates that federally-funded education programs or activities cannot discriminate on the basis of sex.
The new policy “is permitting boys who are male in every biological respect” to compete against girls, the complaint says, adding that biological differences between men and women are not “stereotypes, ‘social constructs,’ or relics of past discrimination.”
Furthermore, post-pubescent 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 argues that the state policy “is now regularly resulting in boys displacing girls in competitive track events in Connecticut,” and helping deprive girls from “opportunities to compete at higher levels, and public recognition critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities that should go to those outstanding female athletes.”
A Vatican document “Male and Female He Created Them,” released by the Congregation for Catholic Education in June of 2019, called gender theory an attempt “chiefly to create a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism.”
“There is a need to reaffirm the metaphysical roots of sexual difference, as an anthropological refutation of attempts to negate the male-female duality of human nature, from which the family is generated,” the document states.