U.S. attorney general William Barr signed a statement of interest Tuesday, arguing against the policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference as it pertains to transgender student-athlete participation in girls' sports.
As reported by The Associated Press, the CIAC allows athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify, arguing it is following a state law that requires high school students be treated according to their gender identity. It also argues the policy is in accordance with Title IX, the federal law that allows girls equal opportunities in athletics, as well as other aspects of federally funded education.
The Justice Department's interest stems from a federal lawsuit filed in February by runners Selina Soule, a senior at Glastonbury High School; Chelsea Mitchell, a senior at Canton High School; and Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School, against the CIAC and several local boards of education. They argue they have been deprived of wins, state titles and future athletic opportunities and scholarships by being forced to compete against transgender athletes they feel have a competitive advantage.
"Males will always have inherent physical advantages over comparably talented and trained girls — that's the reason we have girls' sports in the first place,'' their attorney, Christiana Holcomb, said Wednesday. "And a male's belief about his gender doesn't eliminate those advantages.''
Holcomb and her clients now have an ally in the federal government. Barr and other Justice Department officials wrote this week that under the CIAC's interpretations of Title IX, "schools may not account for the real physiological differences between men and women. 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."