Feds Pull Support from Lawsuit Limiting Trans Athletes

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The new federal administration has withdrawn its support from a Connecticut lawsuit seeking to ban transgender student-athletes from competing in girls’ high school sports.

According to The Associated Press, several cisgender female runners filed a lawsuit last February stating that competing against transgender athletes has taken opportunities away from them. The lawsuit intended to overturn a Connecticut policy allowing prep athletes to compete with the gender they identify with.

Related content: Teens Sue to Block Transgender Athletes in Girls’ Sports

Former attorney general William Barr signed a statement of interest in the lawsuit last March, arguing that Connecticut allowing transgender athletes to compete in girls’ sports goes against Title IX.

The Justice Department and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights withdrew their support for the case this week, days before Friday’s scheduled hearing on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Connecticut U.S. attorney John Durham withdrew Barr’s statement, saying, “the government has reconsidered the matter.”

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference said its policy follows a state law requiring all high school students to be treated according to their gender identity. Last spring and summer, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights sent letters threatening to cut off some federal funding to schools that followed the policy. The office said Tuesday that it was withdrawing those letters and does not wish to be a party in the lawsuit.

Related content: Federal Funding Threatened Over Transgender Policy

“Transgender girls are girls and every woman and girl deserves protection against discrimination,” Connecticut attorney general William Tong said in a statement.

At least 17 states have legally discussed transgender athletes in high school sports. Idaho signed a bill restricting transgender students’ sports participation last March, but a federal judge put the law on hold while the ACLU’s legal challenge proceeds. Mississippi legislature approved a similar bill earlier in February.

Related content: In Briefs, DOJ, 14 States Back Idaho Transgender Law

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