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Four Athletes to Appeal Ruling Allowing Athletic Conference to Abolish 'Girls Only' Sports

05-06-2021
SelinaSouleAlannaSmith
Selina Soule and Alanna Smith are taking a stand to ensure each of their races takes place on a level playing field. (Image credit: Alliance Defending Freedom)

Four Connecticut female athletes will appeal a recent federal district court ruling that dismissed their legal challenge to a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in girls' athletic events.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny dismissed the lawsuit on April 25 on procedural grounds, saying in the ruling that there was no dispute to resolve because the two transgender athletes have graduated and the plaintiffs could not identify other female transgender athletes.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the athletes in Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools will continue to challenge the policy before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. 

The ADF attorneys argue that the rights of girls under Title IX are being violated in Connecticut by being forced to compete against athletes who were born as males. They argued that the law guarantees girls "equal quality" of competition, which is denied by having to race against people with inherent physiological advantages.

ADF reports that, in recent years, two male athletes who identify as female won 15 women's high school track championships that were once held by nine different girls in Connecticut.

As CBN News has previously reported, since 2017, transgender athletes have consistently deprived Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti of honors and opportunities to compete at elite levels. Mitchell, for example, would have won the 2019 state championship in the women's 55-meter indoor track competition, but because two athletes with male DNA took first and second place, she was denied the gold medal. Soule, Smith, and Nicoletti likewise have been denied medals and/or advancement opportunities.

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"Our clients—like all female athletes—deserve access to fair competition; that means authentically equal opportunities to compete, achieve, and win. But competition is no longer fair when males are permitted to compete in girls' sports," said ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb. "Males will always have inherent physical advantages over comparably talented and trained girls; that's the reason we have girls' sports in the first place. Unfortunately, this court has chosen to ignore our clients' demoralizing experiences of losing to male runners. But these committed female athletes—and young women across the country—deserve better. Today, the conversation centers on Connecticut's high school track and field program, but there's something bigger at stake here: Girls and women deserve opportunities that are truly equal—without being sidelined or dominated by males choosing to join their sport."

The athletes also noted they will see this legal fight through, standing "for fairness in women's sports for as long as it takes."

"It's discouraging that the court ruled to dismiss my right to compete on a level playing field," runner Chelsea Mitchell, one of the athletes ADF represents, said. 

"Biological unfairness does not go away because of what someone believes about gender identity. Biology—not identity—is what matters on the field, and that's why I will continue to stand up to restore fairness to my sport," Alanna Smith, another of the athletes said.

"During all four years of high school, I worked incredibly hard to shave fractions of a second off of my time, only to lose to athletes who had an unfair physical advantage," Selina Soule, another one of the athletes said. "I don't want any other girl to experience the pain and heartbreak I had to go through, and I will continue to stand up for fairness in women's sports for as long as it takes." 

Lawmakers Fight for Fairness in Women's Sports in 30 States

As CBN News has reported, conservative lawmakers in more than 30 states have introduced legislation to ban or limit transgender athletes from competing on teams or sports that align with their gender identity. 

Governors in Idaho, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and West Virginia have already signed bills outlawing transgender students from competing in girls' sports teams in public schools.

And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) promised to sign such measure into law in the Sunshine state. 

"Oh yeah, we're gonna protect our girls," DeSantis told Fox News. "We have a 4-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old daughter and they're both very athletic. And we want to have opportunities for our girls. They deserve an even playing field."

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