Judge to Make Decision on Connecticut Transgender Lawsuit | Athletic Business

Judge to Make Decision on Connecticut Transgender Lawsuit

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A case over a transgender policy in Connecticut that had been dismissed by another judge in 2021 is now being heard in an appeals court in New York. 

On Thursday, representatives from both sides of the lawsuit involving the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy of allowing transgender athletes to compete in high school athletics delivered their arguments in a federal appeals court. 

The federal lawsuit was initially filed in February 2020 and was dismissed by United States District Court Judge Robert Chatigny in April 2021, the CT Insider reported. Chatigny ruled that the lawsuit was “moot” since Miller and Yearwood have graduated from high school and the plaintiffs could not identify any additional transgender athletes currently competing within the CIAC.

More than a year later, the case is now in U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Chief Judge Debra Ann Livingston listened to arguments Thursday and will make a decision to either uphold Chatigny's decision or send the case back to district court.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian conservative legal organization, is representing the four cisgender former Connecticut high school athletes who are fighting to overturn the CIAC’s policy.

They argued that allowing transgender athletes to compete alongside cisgender women creates an unequal playing field and violates Title IX,. The plaintiffs are also seeking to change the state track and field records and championship-winning results set by two transgender athletes, former Bloomfield High student Terry Miller of Bloomfield and former Cromwell High student Andraya Yearwood. They argue those results affected their collegiate recruiting opportunities and place of finish in races.

"Trophy shelves exist with old trophies in high schools because we all recognize that the past and history and records matter," Roger Brooks, an attorney with the ADF, argued in court Thursday. " ... The one thing we all agree on is that the public record matters. The question is who's entitled to that women's championship?

"The CIAC rules as we pled, and is true of the Olympics and others, require a retroactive correction of records if a record is found to have been achieved in violation of the CIAC rules. ... These records we contend were achieved not in violation of the rule but in violation of the law, which is an even worse violation."

All six athletes have graduated from high school since the lawsuit was filed and all four plaintiffs received scholarships to run track in college. The ACLU has argued that since the athletes have graduated from high school, the court can’t overturn the CIAC policy. It also argues that since Miller and Yearwood were not breaking any rules while competing, the court can’t change the records or make their results void.

"(The) plaintiffs' complete athletic records, which are incorporated into the complaint by reference, show that they defeated Andraya and Terry on multiple occasions, and amassed an impressive collection of first-place trophies in the process," Block, an ACLU staff attorney, said. "The complaint is filled with hypotheticals about a dystopia where cisgender girls disappear from the victory podium, but a complaint requires allegations of facts, not allegations of hypotheticals."

Alanna Smith, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, is the daughter of former Major League pitcher Lee Smith. 


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