BY MacKenzie Rizzo
On Feb. 26, the families of three female Connecticut high school runners filed a lawsuit which seeks to block transgender athletes in Connecticut from participating in female athletics. They argue that allowing athletes with male anatomy to compete is depriving them, and future female athletes, from achieving athletic titles and scholarship opportunities, according to AP.
According to AP, a lawsuit was filed against the boards of education in Bloomfield, Canton, Cromwell, Danbury and Glastonbury, as well as the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The lawsuit is directed toward Title IX, a federal law passed in part to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative nonprofit organization, is representing the three students: Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School; Chelsea Mitchell, a senior at Canton High School; and Selina Soule, a senior at Glastonbury High School.
Smith said, “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.” She believes that all females “deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field.”
Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, two transgender sprinters, are the center of the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, these two athletes have combined to win 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017, outperforming their female competitors. The American Civil Liberties Union will represent Miller and Yearwood in court.
Raymond Mencio, the Director of Club Sports, Fitness and Recreation at Sacred Heart University, said, “I believe this is a great debate to have so that we can further our education and understanding of the situation. The NCAA has developed a very detailed inclusion policy for transgender athletes. Yet, I believe that we need to continue having constructive discussion so that we can continue to enhance how this situation will be handled to offer a positive experience for all participants.”
According to Transathlete.com, Connecticut is one of 17 states that allowed transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions in 2019.
“I believe there is place for everyone in collegiate sports, regardless of what makes each of us different. Too often, we are scared of what we aren’t accustomed to, but we all need to open our hearts and minds to everyone,” said Mencio.
Several students were asked to comment on this topic, but all declined.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.