The U.S. Department of Justice told a federal court Tuesday that allowing transgender athletes to compete against biological females deprives the latter “of the single-sex athletic competitions that are one of the marquee accomplishments of Title IX.”
The opinion was included in a statement of interest signed by Attorney General William Barr to the U.S. District Court for Connecticut, the Associated Press reported.
The Justice Department has weighed in on a case involving three high school students who have sued the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the Connecticut Association of Schools and the school boards in in Bloomfield, Cromwell, Glastonbury, Canton and Danbury.
According to the teen girls’ lawsuit, a CIAC policy allowing transgender athletes to compete in scholastic contests gives them an inherent physical advantage against other students.
CIAC has said that its policy, implemented in 2013, is in accordance with state and federal law, including Title IX, the 1972 act which prohibited sex discrimination in education and related activities, such as sports.
“Under CIAC’s interpretation of Title IX, however, schools may not account for the real physiological differences between men and women,” the Justice Department said in its filing.
“Instead, schools must have certain biological males — namely, those who publicly identify as female — compete against biological females.”
Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell and Alanna Smith filed the lawsuit at the center of the controversy in February.
The students argued that the CIAC policy results in “boys displacing girls in competitive track events in Connecticut.”
The three also filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education in June. That matter is still pending.
Soule, Mitchell and Smith, whose father is Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Lee Smith, have competed against, and almost always finished behind two transgender sprinters named in the suit: Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood.
Mitchell finished third in the girls 55-meter indoor track state championships last year behind Miller and Yearwood.
Miller and Yearwood, both seniors, have won 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races combined since 2017, according to the lawsuit.
“A males’ belief about his gender doesn’t eliminate those advantages”
“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,” Soule, Mitchell and Smith’s attorney, Christiana Holcomb said Wednesday.
“And a male’s belief about his gender doesn’t eliminate those advantages.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, whose attorneys represent Miller and Yearwood, has protested the Justice Department’s involvement in the case, saying the government was making “clear that it does not believe girls who are trans enjoy protections under federal law.”