It seems that no matter where she goes, Selina Soule can’t get away from efforts to jeopardize women’s sports.
But she’s not shying away from the fight.
As the result of a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy that allows male athletes who identify as female to compete in the girls’ category, Selina had the demoralizing experience of being forced to compete against two male track athletes in high school.
And she felt the consequences sharply.
At the 2019 Connecticut State Open Championship, Selina missed qualifying for the state championship 55-meter final by just one spot and the chance to qualify for the New England Regional Championship by just two spots. The top two spots were taken by males. If the male athletes had not been permitted to compete as females, Selina would have had the chance to compete for a spot at the regional championships, where many college scouts attend.
Even as a high schooler, Selina knew this wasn’t fair. So, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, she and three other Connecticut female athletes filed a lawsuit challenging the CIAC policy.
With that lawsuit still ongoing, Selina graduated and went off to college. This year, she is attending Florida Atlantic University as a sophomore, where she also has the opportunity to compete on its NCAA Division I track & field team.
It’s a dream come true for Selina.
What makes it even better: Earlier this year, Florida passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. This legislation protects the integrity of women’s sports. It also ensures that female athletes in the state would never have to experience what Selina did in Connecticut.
Unfortunately, celebration over the passage of this legislation was short lived, as it was soon challenged in court.
It was a difficult decision—what with already being involved in a multi-year lawsuit defending women’s sports—but Selina ultimately decided that she couldn’t back down now.
At the end of September, ADF attorneys filed a motion to intervene in this Florida lawsuit on Selina’s behalf.
“I decided to speak up for girls who are afraid of retaliation from the media, school officials, and coaches,” Selina said in a declaration to the court. “I fear that too many women feel pressured to remain silent about their real views. And if someone does not speak up for women, I fear that we could see the end of women’s sports. There will be boys’ sports and co-ed sports. But women’s sports as we know it will be gone.”
The reality is that men and women are different. And those differences matter, particularly in the athletic arena. Because when these biological differences are ignored, people get hurt. In this case, girls and women. Males have denser bones, stronger muscles, and greater lung capacity than females. No amount of testosterone suppression can offset those advantages.
Selina realized that someone needed to speak up for science and common sense. For fairness in women’s sports. For equal opportunities for women and girls. And that someone might as well be her.
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