Connecticut Athletes Look to Block Transgender Competitors With Lawsuit
One of the most controversial topics concerning the transgender community is that of participation in athletics. This week, in Hartford, Connecticut, the issue was given a national spotlight yet again.
According to the Associated Press, Danbury High School track athlete Alanna Smith and her family, along with the families of two other high school runners, Selina Soule and Chelsea Mitchell, federally sued the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and their boards of education (Canton, Glastonbury, and Danbury) Wednesday. The federal lawsuit was also filed against the boards of education of Bloomfield and Cromwell High School, the schools that Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood attend, respectively.
The lawsuit was filed in an attempt to stop Miller and Yearwood, two transgender female sprinters, from participating in high school girls' track. What prompted the lawsuit? Miller and Yearwood are good. Why is this a national controversy? They're too good.
The Associated Press reports that the two runners have won over 15 state titles combined and that Smith, Soule, and Mitchell lose to both of them on a regular basis.
However, the conservative nonprofit organization Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending the three families, is arguing that the girl runners are going up against competition with unfair biological advantages. Because of this, the alliance contends that Miller and Yearwood are denying the girls fair chances at winning track meets, which also directly affects their chances of winning scholarships.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference said they follow an anti-discrimination policy that allows students to compete in the sports for the gender they identify with. Additionally, Yearwood stated that there are other disadvantages all runners face that aren't considered unfair, such as another runner having longer legs or better training, among others. The American Civil Liberties Union will defend the transgender runners in court, the Associated Press reports.
The complexity of this issue is easy to identify but not as much to solve. On the one hand, playing the sport with the gender one identifies with is a simple, innocent choice; on the other, it's a choice that can negatively impact the perception and integrity of athletics.
No matter how the trial unfolds, let's hope the two conflicting viewpoints race to a compromise, stride for stride, for the sake of transgender men and women, athletes everywhere, and our humanity.