Female Athletes Ask to Make Their Case over Policy Allowing Biological Males to Compete in Women’s Sports

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit heard arguments Tuesday in Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools in which four female athletes assert that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s (CIAC) policy that allows males to compete in girls’ athletic competitions based on gender identity not only “create[s] an unfair playing field for female athletes,” but also “reverses nearly 50 years of athletic advances for women.”

Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti – all dedicated elite athletes from Connecticut – have all trained hard “for the personal satisfaction of victory, an opportunity to participate in state and regional meets, and a chance to earn a college scholarship,” according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), their legal representatives.

In a press conference, John Bursch, vice president for appellate advocacy at ADF, said that when Title IX became law 50 years ago, “it allowed millions of women and girls to compete in and win athletic championships.”

“But the promise of Title IX is so much bigger than championships and medals,” Bursch (pictured above) explained, “because girls had an opportunity to compete on a fair playing field.”

The attorney discussed the significant effect of competitive athletics for women on the overall quality of their lives.

“Over 90% of female CEOs in the United States have a background in athletics thanks to Title IX,” he said. “Sports give girls the opportunity to learn lifelong skills, but radical activists are now trying to turn the clock back a half century by allowing men to compete against women in girls athletics.”

Bursch continued about the current case:

Here, the state of Connecticut allowed two male athletes to win more than a dozen championships in girl track and field events … Rather than standing up for women and girls, some politicians and the highest positions of power are backing this unjust practice across the country. There’s a real human cost to the claim that men can identify as women and take women’s places on the winner’s podium and in the C suite. And we hope that today the court will keep Title IX’s promise and ensure fair opportunities for women in this generation, the same way Congress did in the past.

The complaint cites the words of Dr. Bernice Sandler, often called “the Godmother of Title IX,” who, in 1975, testified before the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education that operating entirely coed athletic programs that ignore the physiological differences between males and females would “effectively eliminate opportunities for women to participate in organized competitive athletics.”

“For these reasons, such an arrangement would not appear to be in line with the principle of equal opportunity,” concluded Sandler, who served as director of the Project on the Status & Education of Women, Association of American Colleges.

The complaint continues:

[B]ecause schools are permitting males to compete as girls and women, girls and women are losing competitive opportunities, the experience of fair competition, and the opportunities for victory and the satisfaction, public recognition, and scholarship opportunities that can come from victory. More, girls and young women are losing their dreams. To American girls—those born with XX chromosomes—the message is, “Give up. You can’t win.”

In December 2022, a three-judge court panel ruled in favor of the transgender athletes, deciding that the female athletes had not suffered legal injury by allowing biological males to compete against them.

The 2nd Circuit, however, announced in February that the full court would rehear the case.

ABC News reported, Peter Murphy, attorney for the CIAC, argued in court that “nothing about track results would affect the plaintiff’s life prospects.”

The report added the following exchange:

“Is there an injury in fact that you see on this complaint by money damages, if money damages is available?” asked Judge Alison Nathan.

“No,” Murphy responded. “The plaintiffs are alleging they ran a race and lost, and they don’t like the rules.”

Joshua Block, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said in a statement the female athletes’ claims are “filled with hypotheticals about a dystopia where cisgender girls disappear from the podium, but the court must rely on facts.”

“There is enough room on the victory podium for transgender girls too,” Block said. “Under Title IX, all girls, including transgender girls, should be able to participate fully and equally in athletics, in accordance with who they are.”

However, Christiana Kiefer, senior counsel with ADF, spelled out during Tuesday’s press conference the effects of allowing biological males to compete against female athletes:

Over the course of three years in the State of Connecticut we watched as two male athletes won 15 women’s state championship titles. They set 17 new individual meet records, and they eliminated girls from advancement opportunities more than 85 times. Since we filed the lawsuit more than three years ago, the harm to women and girls across the nation has grown exponentially. It’s become a national issue with widespread impact on young women at all levels of competition in numerous sports. Girls continue to lose spots on the podium, the opportunity to compete at elite levels, championship titles public recognition, and potential scholarship opportunities. All because powerful individuals and athletic associations, school boards and even the United States Department of Education, believe the lie that a man can be a woman.

“It’s time to return to biological reality and common sense,” Kiefer said. “It’s time to listen to the voices of the brave young women who are speaking out about how unfair it is about the mental and emotional toll of competing against male athletes, and about how they considered even leaving their sports all together because it just wasn’t worth it to train so hard to shave fractions off a second of their time, only to have a male dominate their event.”

“If we want a future where young women have a shot at winning, we must restore fairness and a level playing field to women’s sports,” she stated.

– – –

Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Press Conference” by Alliance Defending Freedom.




Related posts