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Athlete who’s trying to stop trans girls competing against her epically undermines her whole case

Vic Parsons February 19, 2020
A doctor explains why banning trans people from sport is unscientific

Stock image of athletics.

A student athlete who’s involved in a lawsuit seeking to bar transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports has beaten one of her trans opponents in a race.

Chelsea Mitchell, one of three student athletes who filed a lawsuit last week arguing that it’s “unfair” for trans girls to compete against her, beat sprinter Terry Miller in the 55m race on February 14.

The lawsuit, filed by anti-abortion evangelical Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, argues that trans students competing in athletics have “deprived” cisgender students of track titles and scholarship opportunities.

But this argument looks to have been undermined by Mitchell beating Miller last week.

Mitchell said that she was proud of her win, adding that she was not focusing on the lawsuit: “I try to just clear everything out of my mind, this is just track, you know, it’s just running, just focusing on myself, not trying to think about anything else that’s been happening.”

When asked if she felt the lawsuit was still necessary, she said she was not sure how to answer that question but that she did not believe her win would hurt the case.

“I don’t think it could go against, there’s still tons of girls that lose on a daily basis,” Mitchell said.

The ACLU has spoken out against the lawsuit, calling it “a dangerous distortion of both law and science in the service of excluding trans youth from public life”.

Miller has also defended her right to compete, releasing a statement saying: “I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I no longer want to remain silent.

“I am a girl and I am a runner. I participate in athletics just like my peers to excel, find community, and meaning in my life.

“It is both unfair and painful that my victories have to be attacked and my hard work ignored.”

The trans athlete lawsuit.

Mitchell is one of three high-school students in Connecticut who filed a federal discrimination complaint in June 2019, challenging the state’s policy of letting trans students compete on sports teams according to their gender identity.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the three girls by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has also filed more than 40 cases against Planned Parenthood.

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.

A week after the federal discrimination complaint was filed, a “united front” of women’s rights and gender-justice organisations in Connecticut published a collective statement in support of transgender students competing in high-school athletics according to their gender identity.

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.”

More: Alliance Defending Freedom, Connecticut, trans inclusion, trans women in sports

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