3 Connecticut high school girls are suing a policy that allows trans athletes to compete in women’s sports

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Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith and their mothers claim the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy is a violation of the Title IX act in their lawsuit – which excludes discrimination based on sex.

The policy, it is said in the lawsuit, translates into “boys moving girls into competitive track events in Connecticut”.

In a statement earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union said it would seek to join the cause to defend the interests of transgender student athletes.

“Efforts to undermine Title IX by claiming that it does not apply to a subset of girls will ultimately harm all students and undermine the work of ending the long legacy of sexual discrimination in sport,” Chase Strangio with the ACLU said in a statement.

CNN contacted five Connecticut school boards that were named defendants in the case.

James Thompson, superintendent of Bloomfield Public Schools, said in a statement that the school system “adheres to the guidelines of the Connecticut Intersectic Athletic Conference that allow transgender high school athletes to compete in CIAC’s athletic programs without restrictions – and consistently with their gender identity. ”

Glastonbury Public Schools Board of Education has not commented.

‘I am a runner and will continue to run’

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the conservative nonprofit organization representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement that CIAC policy “steals female athletes from opportunities because of the physical benefits of males.”

“Girls deserve to compete on an equal footing,” ADF attorney Christiana Holcomb said in a statement. “Forcing them to compete against boys is not fair, it shatters their dreams and destroys their athletic opportunities.”

CNN contacted Holcomb for further comments.

For example, the lawsuit mentions two transgender athletes by name, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who according to him started competing in the 2017 season and took home “15 women’s state championship titles”.

“The more we are told that we don’t belong and we should be ashamed of who we are, the less opportunities we have to participate in the sport,” Miller said in a statement published on the ACLU website.

These trans people made history in 2019

“There is a long history of excluding black girls from sports and controlling our bodies,” he said. “I am a runner and will continue to run and will continue to fight for my existence, my community and my rights.”

Miller and Yearwood, says the suit, have seized “more than 85 opportunities to participate in high-level competitions by female athletics” from 2017 to 2019.

In his statement also on the ACLU website, Yearwood said that it is painful to see people “not only want to ruin my achievements, but to break down the laws and policies that protect people like me.”

The lawsuit repeatedly refers to the two as “male athletes”.

“The language of the complaint, which deliberately affects transgender youth and requires that high school athletics be organized by chromosomes, is an assault on the dignity and basic humanity of our transgender people,” said Strangio in the ACLU statement. after the cause.

CNN has contacted both Miller and Yearwood for further comments.

What the title IX says

The lawsuit comes almost eight months after the ADF filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education on behalf of three athletes – Soule and two others who were unnamed – claiming that the CIAC’s policy on transgender athletes violated the Title IX.

He asked for an investigation into politics. This investigation is still pending before the Civil Rights Office, CIAC said in their statement.

Title IX, which became federal law in 1972, says: “No person in the United States will, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, deny benefits or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity to receive federal financial assistance. “

“What Title IX does not require – or even permits,” says the cause of this week, “is that recipients are blinded by the sex of students when they develop their athletic programs.”

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According to the CIAC guidelines for its transgender policy, school districts should determine a student’s participation in sports teams based on the student’s gender identity and “daily life activities in school and community at the time of determination sports admissibility “.

These rules, the guide says, comply with both state law and Title IX.

The guide points out that in a 2019 consultation with the Civil Rights Office, part of the United States Department of Education, a federal compliance officer confirmed that Title IX “supports transgender athletic opportunities with the gender of that a person identifies “.

“(The compliance officer) also said that such support does not require hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery,” says the guide.

In its statement, the CIAC said it also consulted the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Commission, the Connecticut State Department of Education and the National Federation of State High School Associations when it adopted the policy and then has reviewed politics.

CNN’s Giulia McDonnell, Isabelle Lee, Janette Gagnon and Laura Ly contributed to this report.


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