High school students sue to block the participation of transgender athletes
Three female high school track runners have filed a federal lawsuit this week, which aims to block trans women athletes in Connecticut from participating in girl's sports.
Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, and Alana Smith, who attend Glastonbury High School, Canton High School, and Danbury High School respectively, in a collaboration with the conservative pressure group Alliance Defending Freedom, each claim that allowing female transgender pupils the opportunity to compete in cis female teams gives the trans runners an unfair biological advantage.
Recently, Governor J. B. Pritzker signed a bill to protect the rights of trans students in Illinois:
According to the suit, two trans female students named Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood have frequently outperformed their cisgender competitors since coming out and joining the track team; winning 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017.
According to a report by NBC News, Alanna Smith (daughter of former Major League pitcher Lee Smith) has delivered a statement to the press regarding her lawsuit, in which she alleges:
"Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts. That biological unfairness doesn't go away because of what someone believes about gender identity. All girls deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field."
In the video below, posted to the Alliance Defending Freedom YouTube channel, Alanna Smith speaks out her experience (some people may find the video upsetting):
Meanwhile, attorney Christiana Holcomb stated: "Forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics. Connecticut’s policy violates that law and reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women."
However, Bloomfield High School senior Terry Miller has responded in a press release via the ACLU, saying:
"I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I no longer want to remain silent. I am a girl and I am a runner. I participate in athletics just like my peers to excel, find community, and meaning in my life. It is both unfair and painful that my victories have to be attacked and my hard work ignored.
"Living in a state that protects my rights is something that I do not take for granted. So many young trans people face exclusion at school and in athletics and it contributes to the horrible pain and discrimination that my community faces. The more we are told that we don’t belong and should be ashamed of who we are, the fewer opportunities we have to participate in sports at all. And being an athlete can help us survive.
"But instead, we are being told to be quiet, to go home, to stop being who we are.
"I will continue to fight for all trans people to compete and participate consistent with who we are. There is a long history of excluding Black girls from sports and policing our bodies. I am a runner and I will keep running and keep fighting for my existence, my community, and my rights."
The conservative group, Alliance Defending Freedom, released this video of Selina Soule's story in defense of the suit:
Meanwhile, Yearwood also provided a statement via the ACLU, saying:
"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. I have to wake up every day in a world where people who look like me face so many scary and unfair things. I am lucky to live in a state that protects my rights and to have a family that supports me. This is what keeps me going.
"Every day I train hard - I work hard to succeed on the track, to support my teammates, and to make my community proud. It is so painful that people not only want to tear down my successes, but take down the laws and policies that protect people like me.
"I will never stop being me! I will never stop running! I hope that the next generation of trans youth doesn't have to fight the fights that I have. I hope they can be celebrated when they succeed not demonized. For the next generation, I run for you!"