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Judge bins cruel lawsuit trying to ban trans athletes from competing in high school sports

Josh Milton April 26, 2021
Anti-trans bill that would introduce transphobic sports ban stalls in Texas

An anti-trans bill in Texas that would've banned trans girls from women's sports teams has stalled. (Stock photograph via Elements Envato)

A US federal judge binned a cruel Connecticut lawsuit that sought to ban trans girls from competing in high school sports on Sunday (25 April).

The 2020 suit saw a band of cisgender students claim that they face “unfair competition” from two trans teens competing in track and field events alongside them.

The plaintiffs sought to scrap guidelines from the state’s high school sports regulator, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), that permit trans people to correctly compete according to their gender.

The suit, once supported by the Trump administration, saw its presidential backing pulled by Joe Biden earlier this year.

But amid the roiling backdrop of Republican legislators railroading horrific and unnecessary restrictions on trans youth’s life – from sports to healthcare – Connecticut district judge Robert Chatigny tossed the lawsuit out altogether.

In a ruling praised by top advocacy groups, Chatigny said there was no dispute to even solve anymore – the two trans sprinters, Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, have long since graduated.

Moreover, holes were poked in their bid as the plaintiffs struggled to identify other trans female athletes in the school districts that supposedly threatened them. A scenario all too common when Republican lawmakers are pressed for why their bans should be enforced.

Therefore, Chatigny wrote, the plaintiffs no longer had a “personal stake” in the lawsuit and pursuing it nevertheless would require too much “speculative” evidence.

Activists stress trans runners ‘belonged on the girls’ teams because they are girls’

The Trump administration crowbarred itself into the case after both the justice department and the education department’s office for civil rights sided with the plaintiffs.

At the time, then-attorney general William Barr claimed that CIAC guidelines clashed against Title IX, the federal law that allows girls equal educational opportunities.

But Biden, who vowed to reinstate Obama-era guidance which extended Title IX to explicitly protect trans folk across all public school districts, withdrew the White House’s support in February.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) welcomed the ruling in a statement on its website.

Joshua Block, the ACLU’s LGBT+ and HIV Project’s senior staff attorney, praised the judge for rejecting an attempt to essentially leapfrog over existing federal law.

“This is yet another sign that lawmakers attacking trans youth in states around the country have no legal basis for their claims,” he said.

“When Andraya and Terry ran in high school, they belonged on the girls’ teams because they are girls.

“They benefited from being on a team, working to better themselves and having an escape from the rest of their days – the same things that anyone else benefits from when playing sports.

“We will continue to fight against these attacks on transgender youth wherever they come.”

More: Connecticut, trans athletes

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