On Wednesday, three high school girls and their mothers filed a Title IX lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), challenging the rules that allow biological males to compete in women’s high school sports. The lawsuit alleges that CIAC and other education officials violated Title IX of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against girls and failing to provide effective accommodation to allow girls to compete on a level playing field.
High school senior Chelsea Mitchell, the fastest biological girl in Connecticut who has nonetheless lost four state championships to male competitors who identified as female, told PJ Media what it feels like to train as hard as she can without hope of ever emerging victorious. She joined the lawsuit in order to secure a fair playing field for girls to compete.
“It’s very unfair for me and the other girls to race against biological males. It has inspired me and the other girls to stand up and fight for our right to compete and to have a fair competition,” Mitchell said. She went on to describe the experience of competing against males in women’s sports.
“Lining up against them is very intimidating. It’s also frustrating and disheartening to know that they had an unfair advantage against me,” the track star confided. “I’ve really felt defeated. There really isn’t much more I can do than just run my race every time. Every race I’ve ever run against the biological males, I’ve lost. It’s definitely very defeating. It makes you wonder why you’re continuing to run.”
CIAC has allowed biological males to compete against females in women’s sports in service of the transgender agenda. According to this agenda, a male who identifies as a female must be treated as female. The lawsuit, filed by Mitchell and two other female athletes, Selina Soule and Alanna Smith, all of whom are represented by their mothers and the law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), explains at length how this policy leaves females at a disadvantage in sports.
“While boys and girls have comparable athletic capabilities before boys hit puberty, male puberty quickly increases the levels of circulating testosterone in healthy teen and adult males to levels ten to twenty times higher than the levels that occur in healthy adult females, and this natural flood of testosterone drives a wide range of physiological changes that give males a powerful physiological athletic advantage over females,” the lawsuit explains. “Inescapable biological facts of the human species [are] not stereotypes, ‘social constructs,’ or relicts of past discrimination.”
The suit lists 8 broad physiological athletic advantages males enjoy over girls and women after the onset of puberty, including larger lungs, larger hearts, an increased number of muscle fibers and muscle mass, higher myoglobin within muscle fibers (enabling faster transfer of oxygen to those muscles), larger and longer bones, increased mineral density in bones, and height.
Due to these long recognized advantages, sporting events have long had different standards for boys and girls to accommodate the athletic striving of biological females. For example, women’s volleyball nets are 7 inches lower, the weight of high school shot put for boys is 36 percent heavier, the hurdle is 6 inches higher for boys, etc. Even the Journal of Medical Ethics, which has published an article calling for Child Protective Services to remove gender-confused kids from their parents if the parents won’t give them experimental transgender drugs, also published an article condemning the “intolerable unfairness” of the Olympic Committee’s pro-transgender rules.
The lawsuit specifically mentions the 2019 State Open Championship women’s indoor track 55m race in which biological males Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood defeated Mitchell in statewide competitions, relegating her to a third-place finish when she was the fastest biological girl in the race.
PJ Media asked Mitchell, “What lesson does it send young girls that they have to run twice as fast and work twice as hard to compete against biological males who have an immediate advantage against you? Does this undercut women’s empowerment as well as basic fairness?”
“It sends the message that I’m not good enough,” Michell responded. “I’m constantly working as hard as I can. I’ve always done my best because I’ve always wanted to be the best. It’s very discouraging, and it shows me that even though I’m working really hard—even though I’m one of the fastest girls in the state—it’s still not enough to beat biological males. even an elite female athlete can’t beat an average male athlete.”
The lawsuit notes that “a transgender athlete advocate recently wrote that this should be accepted because part of competitive sports is ‘learning to lose.’ A policy such as the CIAC Policy that ensures that girls get extra lessons in losing, however, cannot be reconciled with Title IX.”
Yet many female athletes fear to speak out, for fear of backlash.
“There’s a very common sense of fear among the athletes here in Connecticut. No one really talks about it. It’s like the elephant in the room. I think a lot of people are very scared of the backlash against them,” Mitchell said.
“I decided to join this lawsuit because I think that every girl deserves a fair playing field. The CIAC has allowed biological males to compete in the girls’ category for the past three years, and that’s very unfair for me and the other girls. I’ve lost four state championships, I’ve lost two All-New England awards, I’ve lost countless other opportunities, so I want to see change,” she said. “I don’t want girls in the future to go through this same thing.”
“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing them to compete against boys isn’t fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities,” Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel at ADF, said in a press release. “Having separate boys’ and girls’ sports has always been based on biological differences, not what people believe about their gender, because those differences matter for fair competition. And forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics. Connecticut’s policy violates that law and reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women.”
The lawsuit demands that a court find the CIAC policy discriminatory, strike it down, and expunge the high school sports records of male athletes, giving athletes like Chelsea Mitchell the recognition they deserve.
The suit comes months after the Department of Education under President Donald Trump announced it would investigate whether or not the CIAC transgender policy discriminates against girls.
This lawsuit is about basic fairness, and the high school athletes should prevail.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.