Four female athletes are appealing a federal court’s ruling that dismissed their challenge to a policy allowing biological males to compete in girls and women’s sports.
Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti will continue to challenge the Connecticut policy, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm announced Monday.
The four high school female athletes all have suffered in their athletic endeavors due to the presence of biological males in their sporting events, Alliance Defending Freedom said in a press release.
“Mitchell, for example, would have won the 2019 state championship in the women’s 55-meter indoor track competition, but because two males took first and second place, she was denied the gold medal,” Alliance Defending Freedom said. “Soule, Smith, and Nicoletti likewise have been denied medals and/or advancement opportunities.”
A federal district court judge dismissed the girls’ legal challenge to the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy that allows biological males to compete in categories of women’s sports.
“I conclude that the plaintiffs’ challenge to the [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference] policy is not justiciable at this time and their claims for monetary relief are barred and dismiss the action on this basis without addressing the other grounds raised in the joint motion,” U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny wrote in the ruling released Sunday, according to the Hartford Courant.
Chatigny said that the girls’ request had “become moot” since the two transgender athletes “whose participation in girls’ track provided the impetus for this action” already had graduated.
“There is no indication that [Alanna] Smith and [Ashley] Nicoletti will encounter competition by a transgender student in a [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference]-sponsored event next season,” Chatigny wrote.
The judge continued:
Defendants’ counsel have represented that they know of no transgender student who will be participating in girls’ track at that time. It is still theoretically possible that a transgender student could attempt to do so. Even then, however, a legally cognizable injury to these plaintiffs would depend on a transgender student running in the same events and achieving substantially similar times. Such ‘speculative contingencies’ are insufficient to satisfy the case.
Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Christiana Holcomb said in a written statement that all female athletes deserve access to fair competition—“authentically equal opportunities to compete, achieve, and win.”
“Males will always have inherent physical advantages over comparably talented and trained girls; that’s the reason we have girls’ sports in the first place,” Holcomb said. “Unfortunately, this court has chosen to ignore our clients’ demoralizing experiences of losing to male runners.”
Student athlete Mitchell described the ruling as “discouraging” and suggested that it ignores science.
“Female athletes like me should have the opportunity to excel and compete fairly,” Mitchell said. “No girl should have to settle into her starting blocks knowing that, no matter how hard she works, she doesn’t have a fair shot at victory.”
When I raced against male athletes, I knew that, even if I ran my best, I could only finish second in my heat, and third overall. Girls like me have suffered countless losses because of the [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference]’s policy, and today’s ruling ignores this fact. I will continue to tell my story and fight for fairness in women’s sports.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s policy has allowed two biological males to compete in athletic competitions for girls since the 2017 track season, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.
“Between them, they have taken 15 women’s state championship titles (titles held in 2016 by nine different Connecticut girls) and have taken more than 85 opportunities to participate in higher level competitions from female track athletes in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons alone,” the law firm noted.
Legislatures in 31 states have introduced bills aimed at banning biological males from female sports, according to data compiled by the American Principles Project. Those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Recent polling conducted by The Heritage Foundation found that 58% of Americans say they oppose allowing biological males to compete on sports teams with biological females and 53% say they oppose the athletes’ use of showers or locker rooms that do not align with their biological sex.
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