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Education Dept. Concludes that Connecticut’s Inclusion of Transgender Athletes in Women’s Sports Violates Title IX

Education Dept. Concludes that Connecticut’s Inclusion of Transgender Athletes in Women’s Sports Violates Title IX
Activists block the street outside the U.S. Supreme Court as it hears arguments on a federal anti-discrimination law in Washington, D.C., October 8, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The U.S. Department of Education has concluded that Connecticut’s policy of allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports programs is a violation of Title IX anti-discrimination rules.

The department’s Office of Civil Rights determined that Connecticut’s policy “denied female student-athletes athletic benefits and opportunities, including advancing to the finals in events, higher level competitions, awards, medals, recognition, and the possibility of greater visibility to colleges and other benefits,” according to a March 15 letter obtained by National Review.

The department was investigating a case brought by three female high school students, whose districts, following state guidance, allowed transgender athletes to compete against female students. The students are currently suing their districts and the state’s athletic conference, alleging a violation of Title IX rules that bar federal funding to programs that discriminate against women.

“Female student-athletes were denied the opportunity to compete in events that were exclusively female, whereas male student-athletes were able to compete in events that were exclusively male,” the department letter states. “Accordingly, the districts’ participation in the athletic events sponsored by the [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference] denied female student-athletes athletic opportunities that were provided to male student-athletes.”

The students who filed the lawsuit say they have repeatedly lost sporting competitions to transgender competitors.

“Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School, said in February. “That biological unfairness doesn’t go away because of what someone believes about gender identity. All girls deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field.”

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the students filed a motion earlier this month calling for the presiding judge in the case to recuse himself, after the judge forbid the attorneys from referring to the transgender athletes as “male.”

“Referring to these individuals as “transgender females” is consistent with science, common practice and perhaps human decency. To refer to them as “males,” period, is not accurate, certainly not as accurate, and I think it’s needlessly provocative,” District Judge Robert Chatigny said during an April conference call.

Lead attorney for ADF Robert Brooks responded, “The entire focus of the case is the fact that the CIAC policy allows individuals who are physiologically, genetically male to compete in girls’ athletics….if I refer to these individuals as “female,” because that’s simply, when we’re talking about physiology, that’s not accurate, at least in the belief of my clients.”

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

© 2020 National Review

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