A female athlete in Connecticut is suing the state over policies that allow biological men to compete in women’s sports leagues.
Chelsea Mitchell, 20, who trained for years to try and win a state championship, has lost more than 20 races during the course of her high school career because of Connecticut’s policy allowing transgender athletes who identify as women to compete against biological women.
“At the end of the day, this is just about fairness,” Mitchell told the New York Post.
Three other women who ran track with Mitchell at the same school are joining her in pursing legal action against the Connecticut Association of Schools and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, seeking to overturn the policy allowing transgender athletes to compete in accordance with their gender identity rather than their biological sex, the Post reported.
Mitchell said she first realized her potential as a runner after breaking two school records in her first track meet as a freshman at Canton High School in 2016.
“Since then I just kept going with it and got better and better,” she explained. “Track is really just about hitting those long-term goals that you’ve set for yourself.”
Her goals included winning a state championship and running track in college. However, in her first statewide competition, a biological male identifying as a woman knocked her out of the qualification for the next round in the competition.
“It was just obvious to everyone there that they had a huge advantage. Everyone could see it,” she said.
By her sophomore year, there were two transgender athletes regularly taking top spots away from women. Mitchell says she was forced to compete against the biological men through her senior year.
“Just two athletes took so many opportunities away from biological females,” Mitchell told The Post. “Even though there were only two of them, they took 15 state championships away from other girls — and there were 85 girls that were directly impacted from them being in the races.”
Mitchell says when colleges looked at her, they didn’t see a winner. All they saw was that she “wasn’t a first place finisher.”
Her lawsuit will be heard on June 6 before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City. A three-judge panel of the same court ruled against the lawsuit in December 2022.
The suit argues that state officials are violating Title IX by forcing the girls to “compete against — and lose to — biologically male competitors,” which has negatively impacted their athletic records and resumes.
Attorneys for the athletes state in the court filing there is U.S. Supreme Court precedent for the women having standing, despite state officials asserting there is no basis for the lawsuit.
“We’re hopeful that the court will declare that this Connecticut policy violates Title IX,” Mitchell’s lawyer Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom told the Post. “We’re asking for the court to recognize the damage done to Chelsea and the other athletes, and to restore their record and the credit that they rightfully worked hard to earn.”