The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit revived four women’s lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), allowing the Court to evaluate whether CIAC violated Title IX by allowing biological men to participate in women’s sports.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed Soule v. Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference in 2020 on behalf of Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell and Alanna Smith — three high school track stars who lost athletic honors and competition opportunities to biological men.
This is not the first ruling the 2nd Circuit has delivered on Soule. A three-judge panel for the court effectively killed the case last December, throwing it out because the women “had only alleged speculative injuries the court could not redress, and therefore lacked “standing’ to bring the suit.”
The dead suit received an infusion of hope in February, when the 2nd Circuit vacated its ruling and announced it would hear the case again — this time with all 13 judges present.
“The full complement of judges in any given circuit can, in effect, look over the shoulder of any three-judge panel to make sure that any particular decision a panel issues is correctly decided,” Daily Citizen reporter Bruce Hausknecht explains, “and that’s what happened here.”
Soule illustrates how defining sex based on “gender identity” — a person’s sense or feeling that they are male or female — rather than biology harms women.
Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, both men who identify as women, started competing in Connecticut girls’ track meets in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Yearwood and Miller “broke 17 [Connecticut girls’ high school track] records, deprived girls of more than 85 opportunities to advance to the next level of competition and took 15 women’s state track championship titles” from 2017 to 2020, ADF reports, continuing,
Four of those [state championship titles] were earned by ADF client Chelsea Mitchell. Four times she was the fastest female in a women’s state championship race, and four times she watched that title, honor, and recognition go to a male athlete instead. Over the course of her high school career, Mitchell lost to these males more than 20 times.
“It’s just really frustrating and heartbreaking,” plaintiff Selina Soule told the Wall Street Journal in 2019. “We all train extremely hard to shave off just fractions of seconds off our times. And these athletes can do half the amount of work that we do, and it doesn’t matter — we have no chance of winning.”
Even with treatments to suppress testosterone, men’s bodies are structurally better suited for running — and virtually all sports — than women’s bodies.
Men have narrower hips, which makes their muscle usage and stride more efficient, medical writer and scientist Heather Zeigler explains.
Additionally, she reports, men generally have more fast-twitch muscles than women, which aid in sprinting and short-distance running. Men’s larger hearts and lungs also take in more oxygen, which helps sustain activity over longer distances.
Zeigler mentions only a few of hundreds of biological differences between men and women that cannot be erased by hormone treatments. Title IX was passed in recognition of these differences to give women a fair chance in sports competition. Changing Title IX’s definition of sex to include someone’s feeling of their gender defeats the purpose of the law.
The 2nd Circuit’s revival of Soule allows the women to advocate for the integrity of Title IX and women’s sports, which is a blessing for women everywhere.
Though the court found the women’s case worthy of going to trial, it has not yet ruled in favor of the women. The Daily Citizen will keep you updated.
Additional articles and resources:
Girls Don’t Chest Bump: Transgender Athletes Subverting Title IX (Jul. 22, 2019)