DOJ withdraws from suit to stop transgender athletes from competing
‘Biological males are taking our medals’: Female track stars speak out after Biden administration withdraws from Trump-era lawsuit to stop transgender athletes competing in high school sports
- Connecticut is one of 17 states that allows high school athletes to compete in sports according to their gender identity
- Trump’s administration joined the case last March when AG Bill Barr filed a statement of interest arguing the state’s policy infringed on Title IX
- Biden’s Justice Department has ‘reconsidered the matter,’ U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham wrote in a filing on Tuesday
- On Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere
A Connecticut high school track athlete said she was ‘disappointed’ after President Joe Biden’s Justice Department withdrew from a lawsuit aiming to prevent transgender athletes from competing in girls’ high school sports.
Alanna Smith, who filed the lawsuit with fellow athletes Selina Soule and Chelsea Mitchell, appeared on Fox News with her lawyer to say girls have ‘missed out’ on placing on awards podiums after competing against ‘biological males.’
‘I ran against the biological males at the New England meet because in the 200 meter I took third place when I should have gotten runner up,’ Smith told the outlet.
‘It’s not really about placement, it’s all about knowing that I work so many hours a week to be able to get runner up at New Englands as a freshman.’
Smith said the girls have worked hard to get their stories out so people can ‘realize that fairness needs to be restored in out sport and all women’s sports.’
‘People should realize that a lot of biological females have missed out on making it to meets that really matter like states and regionals and the transgender athletes have taken spots on the podium that belong to biological females,’ Smith said.
‘We train for so many days a week, so many hours to be the best in our state and the best in our region and these biological males are just taking it away form us and we really deserve it.’
Alanna Smith (center), who filed the lawsuit with fellow athletes Selina Soule (left) and Chelsea Mitchell (right) appeared on Fox News with her lawyer to say girls have ‘missed out’ on placing on awards podiums after competing against ‘biological males’
Smith said the girls have worked hard to get their stories out so people can ‘realize that fairness needs to be restored in out sport and all women’s sports’
President Joe Biden’s Justice Department has withdrawn from a federal lawsuit in Connecticut aiming to prevent transgender athletes from competing in girls’ high school sports
The conservative nonprofit organization Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the girls: Soule, who attended Glastonbury High School; Mitchell, who attended Canton High School; and Smith, who attended Danbury High School.
Attorney Christiana Holcomb, who is representing the girls, said the lawsuit will continue to move forward without support from the Biden administration.
‘This is clearly a politically motivated decision to side with radical activists over female athletes like Alanna,’ Holcomb said.
The lawyer also ripped the Biden administration for ‘pushing this so-called Equality Act’ which she said will ‘gut legal protections for women.’
‘[It] ignores the real physical differences between men and women – and threatens women’s privacy, women’s homeless shelters and yes, even women’s sports on a national level for female athletes like Alanna,’ Holcomb said.
She added: ‘Title IX was designed to ensure that girls like Alanna have a fair and level playing field have the chance to showcased their talents, to be champions and frankly to earn those college scholarships.’
Smith (right), who appeared alongside her attorney Christiana Holcomb on Fox News, said: ‘People should realize that a lot of biological females have missed out on making it to meets that really matter like states and regionals and the transgender athletes have taken spots on the podium that belong to biological females’
Smith (left) said she was disappointed the Biden administration pulled support for a lawsuit she filed with fellow athletes Soule (center) and Mitchell (right) last year. They’re pictured outside the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford on February 12, 2020.
The withdrawal comes after Biden he signed an executive order on his first day in office prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere.
Connecticut is one of 17 states that allows high school athletes to compete in sports according to their gender identity without regulation.
The Trump’s administration joined the case last March when Attorney General Bill Barr filed a statement of interest arguing the state’s policy infringed on Title IX, a federal civil rights law that guarantees girls equal access to school activities.
Biden’s Justice Department has ‘reconsidered the matter,’ U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham wrote in a filing on Tuesday ahead of a Friday hearing on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which sent letters last year threatening to cut federal funding from Connecticut school districts, has also withdrawn its support for the lawsuit.
Last year, the families of three cisgender female athletes who run cross country sued officials at Glastonbury High School and Canton High School to block transgender athletes from competing.
The girls, who lost state titles to transgender athletes in 2018, claimed they were forced to compete against two transgender sprinters.
The lawsuit followed a Title IX complaint filed in June 2018 by the girls’ families and the Alliance Defending Freedom with the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights.
U.S. Attorney John Durham, center, said the Justice Department has ‘reconsidered the matter’
Chelsea Mitchell, who was a senior at Canton High School, pictured, was one of the three girls who filed the lawsuit
Selina Soule, who was a senior at Glastonbury High School, also claimed that girls should not have to compete against transgender athletes
Dan Barrett, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut which represents the two transgender athletes in the lawsuit, indicated that Tuesday’s news may show a shift in views of Title IX.
He said Tuesday’s action represents ‘a hint that the government, the Department of Education, may now have a different view of Title IX.’
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said Tuesday he was pleased with the Justice Department’s decision to withdraw Barr’s statement.
‘Transgender girls are girls and every woman and girl deserves protection against discrimination. Period,’ he said in a statement.
Supporters of restrictions on transgender athletes argue that transgender girls, because they were born male, are naturally stronger, faster and bigger than those born female.
Holcomb said last year that making the girls compete against transgender athletes ‘shatters their dreams and destroys their athletic opportunities.’
‘Having separate boys’ and girls’ sports has always been based on biological differences, not what people believe about their gender, because those differences matter for fair competition,’ Holcomb said.
However, supporters of the transgender athletes argue that male genetic advantage fades when hormone therapies take effect.
Joanna Harper, a medical physicist and transgender runner from Portland, Oregon, believes there needs to be a standard based on hormone levels.
Until hormone therapies begin to work, genetic males have a distinct advantage over genetic females, she said. Most transgender teens don’t begin hormone therapy until after puberty.
‘The gender identity doesn’t matter, it’s the testosterone levels,’ said Harper, who studies transgender athletes.
‘Trans girls should have the right to compete in sports. But cisgender girls should have the right to compete and succeed, too. How do you balance that? That’s the question.’
Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation expanded on last year’s Supreme Court Bostock v. Clayton County ruling. which protected LGBTQ people in the workplace.
‘It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex,’ the court opinion reads.
Biden’s order called on the head of each agency to consult with the Attorney General to review ‘all existing orders, regulations, guidance documents, policies, programs’ that relate to compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The order also called on officials to ‘consider whether to revise, suspend, or rescind’ agency actions or enact new agency actions ‘as necessary to fully implement statutes that prohibit sex discrimination.’
‘Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,’ Biden wrote in the order.
He added: ‘It is the policy of my Administration to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, and to fully enforce Title VII and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.’
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