Washington D.C., Jun 19, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- The governing body for high school sports in Connecticut is facing a federal complaint after allowing male students to compete in female events.
Three female students, supported by Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit group advocating for the defence of religious liberty, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights after male students were allowed to compete in the 2018 female outdoor track season.
The complaint alleges that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), which is a governing body for high school sports in Connecticut, is violating federal Title IX norms by allowing male athletes who identify themselves as females to compete in sports against female athletes.
CIAC member schools include many of the state’s Catholic high schools.
The two male students, who identify themselves as female, were allowed to compete during the track season and placed well ahead of their female competitors.
Since 2017, the CIAC allows athletes to compete in leagues consistent with “preferred gender identity.”
In the spring 2018 outdoor track season, a sophomore runner who had already competed in the 2018 indoor track season on the boys’ team changed his gender identification and was permitted to compete as a female.
In the 2018-2019 seasons, he, along with another female-identifying male runner, have consistently placed as the top-two finishers in their events against female runners. One of the males now holds 10 state records in female track events. Previously, these records were held by 10 different runners.
ADF is requesting that the Office for Civil Rights investigate alleged Title IX violations, and compel the CIAC to change its athlete policy.
Title IX of the 1972 Educational Ammendments Act states that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
ADF asserts that allowing male athletes to compete in female events is discriminatory against female athletes.
Additionally, the ADF has requested that the CIAC retroactively recognize runners who would otherwise have won or qualified for events had they not been competing against males.
One of the three girls represented by the ADF complaint is Selina Soule, a 16-year-old from Glastonbury High School in Connecticut. Soule, who runs track, missed qualifying for the state finals in the 55-meter dash by one place. The top two finishers in the event were both males identifying themselves as female.
The other two complainants, who also run track, have chosen to remain anonymous.
“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing female athletes to compete against boys is grossly unfair and destroys their athletic opportunities,” said ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb in a statement posted on the organization’s website.
“Title IX was designed to eliminate discrimination against women in education and athletics, and women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides. Allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women under this law.”
Speaking on Fox News, Soule said that she has received “nothing but support” from her teammates and from other athletes, but she has “experienced some retaliation from school officials and coaches.”
In a 2018 interview after the state championships, Soule said that she had “no problem with [the male athletes] wanting to be a girl,” but that she did not think it was right that she had to race males.
“I think it’s unfair to the girls who work really hard to do well and qualify for Opens and New Englands,” she said in 2018. The New England championships serve as a scouting venue for many college-level coaches.
Earlier this month, the Congregation for Catholic Education issued a document laying out principles for Catholic engagement with so-called gender theory, which posits that biological sex and gender are intrinsically mutable and seperable.
The document, titled “Male and Female He Created Them,” called gender theory an effort “chiefly to create a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism, and secondarily a juridical revolution, since such beliefs claim specific rights for the individual and across society.”
“There is a need to reaffirm the metaphysical roots of sexual difference, as an anthropological refutation of attempts to negate the male-female duality of human nature, from which the family is generated,” said the document.
“The denial of this duality not only erases the vision of human beings as the fruit of an act of creation but creates the idea of the human person as a sort of abstraction who ‘chooses for himself what his nature is to be.’”