Three female high school athletes in Connecticut have filed a federal lawsuit which seeks to block biological males who identify as female from competing in against them in girls’ athletics.
The athletes argue that they are being deprived of obtaining track titles and scholarship opportunities.
The lawsuit stems from two transgender runners, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who have dominated track competition against girls, winning 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017 between the both of them.
“Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School and one of the student athletes filing the suit, told ABC News. “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.”
Smith, Selina Soule, a senior at Glastonbury High School, and Chelsea Mitchell, a senior at Canton High School filed the suit. They are being assisted with their lawsuit by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The three female athletes are suing several city education boards as well as the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which in 2017 changed its policies to allow biological males who identify as female to compete in girls’ sports.
“Our dream is not to come in second or third place, but to win fair and square,” Mitchell said. “All we’re asking for is a fair chance.”
An attorney for the girls told ABC that allowing trans students to compete against them reverses advancements in women’s rights.
“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,” attorney Christiana Holcomb said. “Connecticut’s policy violates that law and reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women.”
The Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference says that they are complying with federal and state laws that say students must be treated as the gender they identify as.
Meanwhile, an Idaho state lawmaker on Wednesday introduced legislation that would ban biological males who identify as transgender women from participating in sports that align with their gender identity.
State Rep. Barbara Ehardt, a Republican, introduced the bill in the House Education Committee, Boise State Public Radio reported. It must undergo a public hearing before the committee will vote on whether to send it to the full House.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires its members to allow transgender athletes to participate in sports that align with their gender identity. Transgender men compete immediately, while transgender women must undergo testosterone suppression therapy for a year before competing.
Ehardt said allowing biological males to compete against females is as a “roadblock” to girls and women who want to play sports with their peers. Her bill would prevent someone who was assigned male gender at birth but who identifies as female from playing on a sports team as a woman. Transgender men – assigned female gender at birth but who identify as male – would be exempt from restrictions.
Similar legislation has been proposed in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Washington state.
In New Hampshire, State Rep. Mark Pearson said his bill (HB 1251) is about embracing science. Biological boys who play on female teams have an unfair advantage, he said.
“My bill is solely focused on one thing: saving women’s sports. My bill is designed to protect hard-striving female athletes from losing a place on a podium, setting records and getting athletic scholarships because they are forced to compete against biological males,” Pearson said. “This is not a theoretical issue.”
Meredith Gordon Remigino, from West Hartford, Connecticut, who has been a girls’ cross country and track and field coach for decades, said some youths born as boys become transgender girls and go on to excel in female sports.
“It is often relatively mediocre athletes as males who are coming over and just wiping out the girls,” Remigino said. “We know firsthand fairness and equality requires sports to be categorized and differentiated based on sex, not based on gender identity.”
New Hampshire officials cited the case of CeCe Telfer, born male and now competing as a transgender woman. Telfer first competed on the men’s track and field team at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire in 2016 and 2017 and never ranked better than 200th nationally in hurdling events.
Under accepted NCAA rules and after one year of testosterone suppression treatment, Telfer in 2019 qualified for the women’s Division II outdoor track and field national championships and won the 400-meter hurdles.