HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Alliance Defending Freedom is representing three female high school track competitors filing a suit in federal court to challenge the state’s policy of allowing transgender women athletes to compete in girl’s sports.
During a press conference outside the Capitol building in Hartford Wednesday, Selina Soule, a Glastonbury High School senior, told News 8 the current policy on transgender students competing in athletics for the gender with which they identify is not a fair playing field for other athletes.
In an interview with News 8 in 2018, Soule said, “I have no problem with them being a girl and wanting to be a girl, my issue is with CIAC.”
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference says their policy follows state law, which says student athletes can compete in the sport with which the student gender identifies.
Wednesday Attorney Christine Holcomb with the ADF pushed back against the policy, saying, “Forcing female athletes to compete against males is not fair and destroys these girls’ athletic opportunities.”
“Now when we line up in front our blocks and the starters call us to get into position, we all know how the race will end. We can’t win. We’ve lived it. We’ve watched it happen. We’ve missed out on metals and opportunities to compete.”– Selina Soule, a Glastonbury High School senior
Attorney Holcomb said the state is violating Title 9, a federal law, she says, that “passed nearly 50 years ago to stop discrimination against women in education while creating equal athletic opportunities for them.”
Holcomb said trans women (individuals born male who identify as female) are taking away athletic opportunities for young women.
“Because of the CIAC’s regressive policy, two male athletes have dominated the girls’ field winning 15 state championship titles that were previously held by 9 different Connecticut girls.”– Attorney Christina Holcomb/ ADF legal counsel
“I was defeated before stepping onto the track but I said nothing. I keep it to myself. A biological male had been breaking records in the girls events he participated in,” said Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School.
The CIAC released this statement on the state’s transgender policy:
“The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference is committed to equity in providing opportunities to student athletes in Connecticut.
In 2013 the CIAC adopted its current policy regarding transgender participation in athletics. When first adopting that policy and when subsequently reviewing it, the CIAC consulted with and relied on statements and advice from numerous bodies and organizations, including the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Connecticut State Department of Education, the National Federation of State High School Associations, and the Office for Civil Rights.
The CIAC believes that its current policy is appropriate under both state and federal law, and it has been defending that policy in the complaint that was filed previously with the Office of Civil Rights.
Although OCR’s investigation is still pending, the CIAC is aware that a lawsuit has now also been filed in federal court. The CIAC will respond to that lawsuit after we have a chance to review it further. “– Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference
“The CIAC has reshaped high school athletics, sidelining deserving athletes, shattering dreams and stealing opportunities for female athletes by allowing males to compete in the girls’ category if they identify as female,” said Holcomb.
Soule added, “We won’t be side-lined and we wont be silenced.”
ADF attorneys are asking the court to stop enforcement of CIAC’s policy while the lawsuit moves forward.