U.S. Justice Department Weighs In On Controversial Debate

The U.S. Attorney General stepped in the middle of a civil rights lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday, signing a statement of interest, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr levied an argument against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, arguing that the policy the CIAC currently has in place in regards to transgender athletes competing within the gender classifications in which they identify is against the spirit of Title IX law. 

"Under CIAC's interpretation of Title IX, however, schools may not account for the real physiological differences between men and women," Barr wrote. "Instead, schools must have certain biological males -- namely, those who publicly identify as female -- compete against biological females. In doing so, CIAC deprives those women of the single-sex athletics competitions that are one of the marquee accomplishments of Title IX." 

A lawsuit brought on by three female student-athletes in Connecticut, filed by the Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, is currently in federal court arguing against the performance of transgender athletes in high school sports. 

But the current CIAC policy remains inclusive and its reference material maintains that it is "committed to providing transgender student-athletes with equal opportunities to participate in CIAC athletic programs consistent with their gender identity."

The CIAC writes that it abides by state and federal law in not "precluding a student from participation on a gender specific sports team that is consistent with the public gender identity of that student for all other purposes."

Glastonbury's (CT) Selina Soule, Canton's (CT) Chelsea Mitchell and Danbury's Alanna Smith filed the suit in federal court in February. 

"No girl should have to settle into her starting blocks knowing that you don't have a fair shot at winning," Soule said at the time. 

According to the Associated Press, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the transgender athletes who compete in the state, said that it is deeply discouraged that the U.S. Justice Department would comment to "make clear that it does not believe girls who are trans enjoy protections under federal law." 

"Our clients are two high school seniors who are just trying to enjoy their final track season of high high school and who now have to contend with the federal government arguing against their right to equal educational opportunities," said Chase Strangio, who's the deputy director for Trans Justice at the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project. 

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