The U.S. Department of Justice is weighing in on the debate about transgender athletes competing as girls and women.
It does not think they should.
Attorney General William Barr signed a formal statement of interest on Wednesday addressing a federal civil rights lawsuit in Connecticut that seeks to block transgender athletes from competing as girls in interscholastic sports, the Associated Press reports.
Barr argued against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy allowing athletes to compete based on their gender identity.
The CIAC argued in a lawsuit filed in February that the policy complies with state law requiring students to be treated as the gender with which they identify. The organization also argues that its policy is compliant with Title IX, the federal law requiring equal rights for girls and women in educational settings and is frequently applied to athletics.
Barr argued that the CIAC’s policy actually deprives women and girls of their Title IX protections.
“Under CIAC's interpretation of Title IX, however, schools may not account for the real physiological differences between men and women,” a statement from Barr’s DOJ reads, according to AP. “Instead, schools must have certain biological males — namely, those who publicly identify as female — compete against biological females.
“In so doing, CIAC deprives those women of the single-sex athletic competitions that are one of the marquee accomplishments of Title IX.”
About the lawsuit
The lawsuit against the CIAC was filed by three high school runners who claim that transgender athletes present unfair competition. Glastonbury High School senior Selina Soule, Canton High School senior Chelsea Mitchell and Danbury High School sophomore Alanna Smith argue in the suit that transgender athletes have cost them wins and championships.
Smith is the daughter of former MLB pitcher Lee Smith.
“Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” Smith said at a news conference upon filing the lawsuit in February. “That biological unfairness doesn’t go away because of what someone believes about gender identity. All girls deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field.”
Terry Miller, a transgender senior at Bloomfield High School in Connecticut, responded that the lawsuit amounted to an unfair attack on her track accomplishments.
“I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life, and I no longer want to remain silent,” Miller said. “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.”
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