A female high school student in Connecticut, Chelsea Mitchell, defeated a trans-identified female in a state championship race. Mitchell had filed a lawsuit to block transgender athletes from competing in girls' sports.
Mitchell, of Canton High School, finished the Class S 55-meter dash, held on Friday, in 7.18 seconds, while the trans athlete Terry Miller of Bloomfield High School finished at 7.20 seconds, according to The Washington Times.
“I try to just clear everything out of my mind, this is just track, you know, it’s just running, just focusing on myself, not trying to think about anything else that’s been happening,” NBC Connecticut quoted Mitchell as saying after her win.
Since 2017, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has allowed male athletes who identify as girls to compete in women’s sports. And after the 2018 season, one male athlete transferred schools, moving into Chelsea’s competition class.
Families of Mitchell and two other students filed a lawsuit Wednesday saying it was unfair that transgender athletes were allowed to participate in girls' sports. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group that has an extensive record of winning landmark religious liberty cases, is representing the families.
The ACLU has called the lawsuit “a dangerous distortion of both law and science in the service of excluding trans youth from public life.”
Glenn Lungarini, the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference executive director, said that the policy follows federal law and state anti-discrimination law that says students must be treated in school by the gender with which they identify. “CIAC sports exists for all students and we pride ourselves on proving equity in the competitions that we run for all Connecticut athletes.”
Miller also responded to the lawsuit in a statement, saying, “I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I no longer want to remain silent. I am a girl and I am a runner. I participate in athletics just like my peers to excel, find community, and meaning in my life. It is both unfair and painful that my victories have to be attacked and my hard work ignored.”
Last year, ADF defended another high school runner Selina Soule, who finished eighth in a 55-meter dash at the Connecticut indoor track championships.
Soule was expecting to be able to compete in the 55-meter race at the New England regionals, an event attended by college scouts looking for athletes to recruit, but the 16-year-old athlete was knocked out of qualifying because the two top spots were given to male athletes who identify as female.
Soule filed a federal complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights which enforces Title IX, the federal statute that protects people from sex-based discrimination in the educational arena and its affiliated programs and activities, like school athletics, which receive government funding.
“No one in the state of Connecticut is happy about this, but no one has enough courage to speak up,” Soule told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview at the time. “I haven’t been the only one affected by this. There have been countless other female athletes in the state of Connecticut, as well as my entire indoor track team. We missed out on winning the state open championship because of the team that the transgender athlete was on.”