Women’s rights groups defend trans-inclusive student athletics policy
A “united front” of 16 women’s rights and gender justice organisations in Connecticut have released a collective statement in support of transgender students competing in high-school athletics according to their gender identity.
The statement comes one week after three Connecticut high-school students filed a federal discrimination complaint challenging the state’s policy of letting trans students compete on sports teams according to their gender identity.
The three students are represented by a staunchly anti-abortion, conservative Christian law firm called Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF.)
Kate Farrar, executive director of Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund – one of the groups that cosigned the collective statement – said to Outsports, “The heart of feminism is acknowledging gender identify and recognising all aspect of oppression.”
“In that vein, we felt the need to show a united front of support for transgender rights in our state,” said Farrar.
The statement says, “As organisations that care deeply about ending discrimination against women and girls, we support laws and policies that protect transgender people from discrimination, including in participation in sports.”
“Together, we reject unfounded fears about transgender athletes in our state and reject the suggestion that cisgender women and girls benefit from the exclusion of women and girls who happen to be transgender.”
“Instead, we recognise that all women and girls are harmed when some are denied opportunities to participate in sports because of stereotypes and fear,” the statement says.
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England is one of the signees of the statement supporting trans rights.
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Their complaint to the US Department of Education alleges that Connecticut’s policy violates Title IX, the federal civil-rights law that is meant to ensure students have equal access to opportunities regardless of their sex.
The complaint, which refers to trans girls as “biological males,” says that trans athletes should not be allowed to compete in the category corresponding to their gender identity because it’s unfair to cisgender girls.
“The complaint is alarming; first, because of the misgendering, and secondly because of the idea it sends: that it’s appropriate to look behind someone’s gender identity and saying, ‘we don’t think you are real,” ACLU Connecticut Legal Director Dan Barrett told Outsports.
“This complaint is just another way of taking away personal autonomy and making the government ‘the gender police’. That’s offensive and it’s just another attack on trans people,” Barrett said.
The statement also affirmed this point, saying, “Transgender girls are girls and transgender women are women. They are not and should not be referred to as boys or men, biological or otherwise.”
“We speak from expertise when we say that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people—including women and girls who are transgender—advance women’s equality and well-being.”