Three Connecticut Athletes File Gender Discrimination Suit


Some time within the last two years, Selina Soule's parents went to school officials at Glastonbury High School to discuss sexual discrimination in athletics.

Meeting with administration, Soule's parents believed the state's policy on allowing transgender athletes the opportunity to compete in the gender in which they identified was hurting their daughter's and other's chances for championship experiences, as well as scholarships. 

Soon after that meeting, according to a federal lawsuit and gender discrimination complaint filed recently by three Connecticut athletes on the state's policy on transgender athletes, Selina, a junior at Glastonbury, believed she was being retaliated against by her own coaches, who "forced her to perform workouts that are not generally applied for short-distance sprinters" and eventually told her "that if a college recruited asked him about [the athlete], 'he would not be able to give a good report about her.'" 

The suit, filed on June 17 to the Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights, maintains that transgender athletes who are allowed to compete in Connecticut are costing biological girls opportunities in track and field.

Read: NFHS Information On Transgender Student-Athletes

Soule was identified in the suit, along with two others who wished to remain anonymous based on the fear that retaliation would inhibit future opportunities. Soule has since spoken about the suit on Fox News. 

A conservative law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom, filed the suit on Monday and presses the Department of Education to reverse a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference rule which, since 2017, has allowed transgender athletes to compete with the gender in which they identify. 

According to Transathlete.com, there are 19 state high school sports associations with nondiscriminatory policies for transgender athletes. The CIAC follows the state's statute on gender identity. 

CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini told the Hartford Courant on Tuesday: "The CIAC is committed to equity in providing opportunities to student athletes in Connecticut. We take matters seriously, and we believe that the current CIAC policy is appropriate under both Connecticut law and Title IX." 

The suit alleges that the state's policy violates Title IX, a federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits discrimination based on the basis of sex in education, though of which has typically been referenced within issues in athletics. 

Since 2017, two transgender girls athletes, Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, have competed within the CIAC and have endured polarizing views on their involvement in the sport. Two years ago, Yearwood was profiled by MileSplit and again this past year by Bleacher Report's Mirin Fader. 

In June of 2018, a petition was formed within Connecticut to ban transgender athletes from competing against girls and instead in a division based around the sex they were assigned at birth. 

Yearwood told Bleacher Report, "It blew my mind. People really started a petition to not get me to run." 

Miller has found success across 2019, winning state open titles in the 55m and 300m. She holds state outdoor records in the 100m and 200m and won state titles in the 200m and 4x400m this past season. Yearwood won state outdoor titles in 2017 in the 100m and 200m. 

Yearwood's father, Rahsaan, responded to the suit on Tuesday, telling The Courant, "As a human being -- not as Andraya's father -- it's disappointing that, in 2019, we're still debating who gets to participate and who doesn't. You would hope we'd gotten to a place in 300-plus years as a country that we're not debating who should be included, and who should not be. There is no place for exclusion." 

With the past two years, Yearwood has been open and willing to talk about her story. She told the Courant she is undergoing hormone treatment therapy. 



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