CT ACLU group defends rights of transgender athletes 

Two transgender athletes were targeted by a lawsuit due to them participating in high school women’s sports. Photo by Alexander Grey/Pexels.

On Sept. 29, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Connecticut defended two Connecticut transgender athletes, citing state policy at an appeals court in New York regarding a long-standing court case against the two women. 

According to a post by the ACLU, Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, two transgender women, were the subject of a lawsuit by several women and their families regarding their participation in high school women’s sports in the state. Filed in 2020, Soule et. al v. CT Association of Schools et. al has become the centerpiece of legal discussion on the inclusion of transgender men and women in school sports. 

“Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood are transgender young women who successfully competed in track and field events while in high school in Connecticut. During their senior year, cisgender girls represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom — an organization that takes credit for a record surge in anti-transgender bills introduced by state legislators in recent years — filed a lawsuit arguing that the presence of transgender girls on girls’ sports teams violated Title IX,” the ACLU said. 

In the initial filing of the case in 2020, the case was dismissed by a federal judge in Connecticut. The lawsuit has since moved to the Second District Appeals Court, covering New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. The case has not yet been dismissed in this court, according to The Washington Post

ACLU attorney Joshua Block argued that Title IX, part of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded programs, including public schools, extends to the protection of transgender women as well. 

Block also claimed the plaintiff’s statement that the cisgender women “could not compete athletically” with transgender women was false, citing that the plaintiff’s clients had repeatedly outperformed both Yearwood and Miller in track and field, where both students had participated on their high school teams. 

Politico reports that the issue of transgender athletes, and transgender rights in general, have taken center stage in Republican talking points as the midterm elections approach in early November, with several LGBTQ+ groups pressuring President Biden to provide federal protections as state, county and town laws across the country seek to strip away rights from transgender men and women. 

“The Education Department has two options: push out a rule that’s likely to put campaigning Democrats on the defensive, or risk giving a Republican-controlled Congress more time to reverse the rule — and prevent anything ‘substantially similar,’” Politico said. 

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