Washington D.C., Apr 26, 2021 / 13:00 pm
Four female athletes in Connecticut are appealing a court ruling that dismissed their legal challenge to the state’s transgender sports policy.
In the case of Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, several female athletes had sued over the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy of allowing athletes to compete in sports based on their gender identity; under the policy, biological males identifying as transgender females began competing in women’s track events in 2017.
“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 Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for the group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), on Sunday. ADF, a legal group advocating for the defense of religious liberty, represents the athletes in their challenge.
On Sunday, Judge Robert Chatigny of the Connecticut district court dismissed the challenge as “not justiciable at this time.”
ADF said it will now be appealing the case to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“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, stated in a press release.
“Today’s ruling ignores the physical advantages that male athletes have over female athletes,” she added. “Female athletes like me should have the opportunity to excel and compete fairly. 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."
In 2017, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference began allowing student-athletes to compete in sports based on their gender identity, and not their biological sex. After the new policy went into effect, two biological males identifying as transgender females competed in girls’ track events and won 15 state titles.