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Tipsheet

Federal Court Upholds Connecticut's Policy Allowing Trans Athletes to Compete Against Girls

AP Photo/John Bazemore

On Friday, a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit brought forward by female athletes challenging Connecticut’s policy that allows male-bodied “transgender” athletes to compete in high school girls’ sports. 

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The challenge was brought forward by four female runners who claimed they were forced to compete against transgender athletes (via Associated Press): 

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City upheld a lower court judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the policy. The panel said the four cisgender athletes lacked standing to sue — in part because their claims that they were deprived of wins, state titles and athletic scholarship opportunities were speculative.

“All four Plaintiffs regularly competed at state track championships as high school athletes, where Plaintiffs had the opportunity to compete for state titles in different events,” the decision said. “And, on numerous occasions, Plaintiffs were indeed “champions,” finishing first in various events, even sometimes when competing against (transgender athletes).”

The judges added, “Plaintiffs simply have not been deprived of a ‘chance to be champions.’”

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Council argued its policy is designed to comply with a state law that requires all high school students be treated according to their gender identity. It also said the policy is in accordance with Title IX, the federal law that allows girls equal educational opportunities, including in athletics.

Christiana Kiefer, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, told AP that she and other attorneys are considering asking the United States Supreme Court to review the decision. 

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“Our clients, like all female athletes across the country, deserve fair competition,” Kiefer said in a phone interview. “And that means fair and equal quality of competition, and that just does not happen when you’re forced to compete against biological males in their sports.”

“The vast majority of the American public recognizes that in order to have fair sports, we have to protect the female category, and I think you’re seeing that trend increasingly with states across the country passing laws to protect women’s sports,” she added. “This is certainly not the end of the road in the fight for fairness for female athletes.”

Over ten states have passed laws or restrictions on biological male “transgender” athletes competing in women’s sports. This occurred after the issue of transgender athletes competing against biological females was pushed to the forefront after Will “Lia” Thomas competed on the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swim team last year after competing on the men’s team for three years. Townhall reported how Thomas won races against women, including an NCAA Division I Title, and robbed them of opportunities to compete at the NCAA championships. On top of that, players who spoke out anonymously to media outlets said that Thomas was allowed to use the women’s locker room, which made them feel uncomfortable.

In June, around the anniversary of Title IX, Townhall reported how a poll conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland found that the majority of Americans – 55 percent – opposed allowing biological males who identify as women to compete in women’s sports at the college and professional level. A separate poll done in September by Pew Research found that 58 percent of Americans favor requirements for transgender athletes to compete on sports teams that align with their biological sex. In addition, 41 percent of respondents said they favor requiring transgender individuals to use public restrooms that match their biological sex rather than their “gender identity.” 

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Earlier this month, Townhall covered how a biological female hockey player was injured by a biological male athlete in an “all trans” hockey tournament backed by the NHL. In a video of the incident, the female was shoved to the ground by the male athlete and players could be heard screaming to get a medic and a stretcher. Reportedly, the female left with a concussion.

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