A federal district judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by four female track athletes against Connecticut’s interscholastic sports program for allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in girls’ high school athletic events.
In his April 25 ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny wrote that the challenge to the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy is “not justiciable at this time” because the two transgender athletes in question—Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller—have graduated.
But Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing the four plaintiffs, argues that the issue goes beyond Yearwood and Miller. It says that within just three years, over 85 chances to compete in elite athletic competitions have been taken from girls across Connecticut by transgender athletes.
The plaintiffs—Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith and Ashley Nicoletti—like all female athletes—deserve access to fair competition, said Christiana Holcomb, ADF legal counsel. “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.
“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,” she continued. “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.”
ADF intends to appeal the ruling, stating that its lawyers “will continue to challenge the policy before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.”
“No girl should have to settle into her starting blocks knowing that, no matter how hard she works, she doesn’t have a fair shot at victory,” said Chelsea Mitchell following the ruling.
Despite the setback, all four female athletes vow to keep fighting.
“[This] decision ignores the unfairness of the CIAC’s policy, which allows biological males who identify as female to compete in the girls’ category,” Selina Soule 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. 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.”
Above: Selina Soule (left) and Alanna Smith (right).
Photo: Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom