The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out a lawsuit from female athletes who were forced to compete against males “identifying” as females in Connecticut. The court ruled the women had only alleged speculative injuries that the court could not redress, and therefore the female athletes lacked “standing” to bring the suit.
The four plaintiffs in the case – Chelsea Mitchell, Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti – competed in high school track events in Connecticut between 2017 and 2019. During that period, they were denied opportunities to win trophies and advance because they were forced to compete against two males who “identify” as females – so-called “transgender females.”
The governing body over high school athletics in Connecticut is the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC). Its rules governing participation by “transgender” athletes allow participation by athletes in men’s or women’s sports based on their self-professed “gender identity,” even if that identity is not in accord with their sex.
Starting in 2017, those two male athletes were allowed to compete in high school female track events in Connecticut by the CIAC under its transgender policy. In just three years, those two males broke 17 girls track meet 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.
The four young female athletes claim that allowing males to compete in female sports violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law. Title IX’s purpose was to provide equal opportunities for females at schools supported by taxpayer funds to remedy – in part – the lack of opportunities in athletics for women caused by male dominance in athletics.
The physiological differences between men and women give men an unfair advantage when competing against women in most sports. It’s a scientific fact – and, well, commonsense really – that men, on average, are bigger, faster and stronger than the average woman. As a consequence, women’s sports suffered from a lack of funding prior to 1972, as schools focused more attention on men’s sports.
By providing women the funding and opportunities to compete fairly against other women, Title IX leveled the playing field in athletics and provided the chance for women to excel in their chosen sport. Title IX, by any measure, has been a huge success for women’s sports.
That is, until radical gender ideology began to prevail in states like Connecticut, which decided that males could compete against women simply by claiming to be women.
For the four female high school track athletes, the new gender rules undermined the entire purpose and function of Title IX, as well as severely impacted their high school careers. And they are looking for a legal remedy, which the federal courts have thus far denied them.
The 2nd Circuit decision was improper, according to attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who represent the four female athletes.
“The 2nd Circuit got it wrong, and we’re evaluating all legal options, including appeal. Our clients—like all female athletes—deserve access to fair competition,” ADF Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer said in a press release. “Thankfully, a growing number of states are stepping up to protect women’s athletics.
“Right now, 18 states have enacted laws that protect women and girls from having to compete against males, and polls show that a majority of Americans agree that the competition is no longer fair when males are permitted to compete in women’s sports.
“Every woman deserves the respect and dignity that comes with having an equal opportunity to excel and win in athletics, and ADF remains committed to protecting the future of women’s sports.”
We’ll keep you updated on this case as it proceeds, possibly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case is Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools.
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Photo from ADF.