I lived for swimming competitions growing up.
It wasn’t so much the training that I loved – that was just a means to an end. What I truly loved was the opportunity to compete against other swimmers to see where I stood. It was the hope that staring at a black line on the bottom of the pool for countless hours, waking up before dawn over summer break, and passing on Friday night plans with my friends would pay off when I dove into the water at the start of a race.
Sometimes, it did pay off:
- When I would touch the wall at the end of the race and look up to see the “1” by my name on the scoreboard.
- When I got to stand on the 1st place podium, shake my coach’s hand, and receive a gold medal.
- When I secured a chance to compete at the next level.
- When I earned a college scholarship.
But that hope, and those opportunities, are being stripped away from female athletes in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) recently allowed male athletes who identify as female to compete in high school women’s sports. As a result, two male athletes have dominated the competition in high school Track & Field – winning 15 women’s track championship titles that were once held by nine different girls in the state of Connecticut.
This has personally impacted female athletes like Selina Soule and Alanna Smith.
Selina, now a high school senior, was denied the opportunity to compete in front of college scouts in the 55-meter dash after these two male athletes took first and second in that event. If the CIAC wouldn’t have permitted them to compete, it’s likely that Selina would have qualified for the New England Regional Championships, which many college scouts attend. Instead, she had to watch from the sidelines.
Alanna, a high school sophomore, won the 400-meter dash as a freshman at the 74th New England Interscholastic Track and Field Championships. Thankfully, no male athletes were competing in that event. But in the 200-meter dash, she placed third – while a male athlete took first in that event.
These courageous young women know that they are being forced to compete on an uneven playing field. Males are stronger, faster, have more muscle mass, and have stronger bone density than women. Training only increases this discrepancy.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of Selina, Alanna, and another Connecticut female athlete. Thankfully, the federal government agreed to investigate.
Selina and Alanna spend hours training to be the best in their events, to shave off fractions of a second from their times. They wake up early, they train year-round, and they’ve probably said no to their fair share of social events with their friends.
Those sacrifices pay off when you can enjoy the fruit of your labor.
But can you imagine making those sacrifices knowing that they won’t pay off? That even if you are the fastest female athlete in the state of Connecticut, you won’t receive that title?
And it defeats the purpose of having separate men’s and women’s sports.
Thankfully, you don’t have to sit on the sidelines. You can do something about this injustice.
Please stand with these young women and make it clear that they should not be forced to give up athletic – and even scholarship – opportunities at the expense of a political agenda. They deserve #FairPlay.
Make your voice heard. Sign the petition today to encourage the Trump Administration and Members of Congress to safeguard the athletic and academic futures of young women across the country.
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