Imagine how it would feel to show up to the starting line of a race, knowing you were going to lose. Think of the discipline it would take to push yourself to do your best in a race that you know is rigged against you.
It would take a toll on anyone.
Four young women in Connecticut don’t have to imagine what this would feel like. They’ve lived it.
A Rigged Competition
Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti are all talented track and field athletes. They’re dedicated competitors who have devoted countless days, nights, and weekends to training, striving to shave mere fractions of a second off their race times.
But there were many times they knew that, despite their talent and hard work, they would never make it onto the victory podium. They knew because they would be competing against athletes with an unfair advantage.
For several years, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has allowed male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete in women’s athletics. You don’t need a degree in sports physiology to know that this is unfair. Science and common sense tell us that males are generally bigger, faster, and stronger than females—males have greater strength, denser bones, larger hearts, and greater lung capacity than women.
After CIAC changed their policy to allow male athletes to compete in women’s sports, two transgender-identifying boys swept 15 state championship titles that were held by nine different girls in 2016. Because of the policy allowing these athletes to participate, Selina Soule lost out on a spot to compete at the New England Regional Championships a huge opportunity to run in front of college scouts. Chelsea Mitchell lost four state championship titles.
These four girls had every reason to give up. But it’s a testament to their character that they decided to take a stand. They enlisted the help of Alliance Defending Freedom and filed a lawsuit against CIAC for its unfair policy.
Fighting Another Battle
Over a year ago on February 12, 2020, Selina, Chelsea, Alanna, and Ashley challenged CIAC’s policy in federal court, arguing that it violated Title IX.
Title IX was a landmark piece of legislation, enacted by Congress in 1972. The goal of Title IX was to create equal opportunities for women and girls in education and athletics. Before this became law, there were virtually no girls’ sports teams.
But now athletic organizations like the CIAC are turning their backs on the very purpose of Title IX by allowing transgender-identifying male athletes to compete in women’s sports. There’s a reason why men’s and women’s sports are separated in the first place—because men and women are physically different.
Girls like Selina, Chelsea, Alanna, and Ashley deserve the same opportunity to excel and chase their dreams. If boys are permitted to compete in girls’ sports it takes away these opportunities—the very same opportunities that Title IX was designed to protect.
Unfortunately, it seems like once again, Selina, Chelsea, Alanna, and Ashley are facing an uphill battle. Right now, the opposition is trying to get their case thrown out altogether.
Today, the federal court is holding a hearing to consider a motion to dismiss the case.
This hearing comes right after these young women faced another setback. In September of 2020, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to CIAC reminding that it must follow Title IX and protect women’s sports. But just this past week the same department, now under a different administration, formally withdrew its support of the female athlete’s case against CIAC’s unfair policy.
There is a lot at stake here. If policies like the one in Connecticut are allowed to continue, it will be the end of women’s sports. But this is about so much more than sports.
It’s about the biological fact that men and women are different. If the law ceases to reflect this truth, then it will be women and girls who lose the most. We don’t have to imagine the consequences this would have—men competing in women’s sports at the collegiate level or men being permitted in women’s homeless shelters. These things have already happened.
Thankfully, Selina, Chelsea, Alanna, and Ashley are brave enough to take a stand. It’s a testimony to their courage that they continue to fight for women’s sports even after facing the demoralizing struggle of competing in unfair competitions.
You can take a stand for women’s sports by sharing about this important case with your friends.
When it comes to secondary and collegiate athletics, West Virginia’s save women’s sports law makes sure males who identify as female cannot take a spot on any team from a deserving girl.