Selina Soule, a senior at Glastonbury High School and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie) Credit: Christine Stuart photo

A three judge panel agreed with a federal judge in Connecticut that allowing transgender students to compete in high school sports does not violate a student athletic policy nor non-discrimination clauses in federal law. 

The Second Circuit Court found that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference was justified in allowing two transgender women to compete in track competitions.  

The plaintiffs, four cisgender females, sued the CIAC back in 2020. The athletes claimed they were deprived of scholarship and employment opportunities by being forced to compete against the transgender female athletes. 

In their ruling, the panel of judges noted that, on numerous occasions, the cisgender plaintiffs placed first in various events, even sometimes when competing against Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller.

“Plaintiffs simply have not been deprived of a ‘chance to be champions’,” the ruling reads.

“Indeed, the races were run in conformity with the rules in effect at the time; times were recorded; medals for gold, silver and bronze were in fact awarded to athletes who finished first, second, and third; and the records accurately reflect those results,” the court ruled.

The court also affirmed discrimination against transgender students violates Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational program.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the cisgender plaintiffs, said it is considering its options for further appeal.

“The 2nd Circuit got it wrong, and we’re evaluating all legal options, including appeal. Our clients—like all female athletes—deserve access to fair competition,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer said. “Thankfully, a growing number of states are stepping up to protect women’s athletics. Right now, 18 states have enacted laws that protect women and girls from having to compete against males, and polls show that a majority of Americans agree that the competition is no longer fair when males are permitted to compete in women’s sports.”

The decision was applauded by the ACLU.

“Today’s ruling is a critical victory for fairness, equality, and inclusion” Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, said. “The court rejected the baseless zero-sum arguments presented by the opposition to this policy and ultimately found transgender girls have as much a right to play as cisgender girls under Title IX. This critical victory strikes at the heart of political attacks against transgender youth while helping ensure every young person has the right to play.”

Elana Bildner, an ACLU Foundation of Connecticut senior staff attorney, said “Trans student athletes belong on our sports teams and in our schools, and all trans youth should be celebrated and protected for who they are. Today, the courts have once again dismissed this lawsuit seeking to attack trans student athletes.”

The CIAC maintained that it did the right thing by allowing the transgender females to participate in the competitions.

“The CIAC believes that its current policy is appropriate under both state and federal law,” the organization said back in February 2020.