High school track athlete Selina Soule braves the cold Connecticut winters and humid summers to run. She devotes countless days, nights, and weekends to training in order to shave mere fractions of a second off her race times. She trains to win.
But it’s a victory that she will never achieve. When she steps up to the starting blocks at the beginning of a race, she knows that the odds are against her.
Since 2017, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) has allowed biological males who identify as girls to compete in high school women’s sports. Girls like Selina are automatically at a disadvantage.
Opportunities Stripped Away
Science and common sense tell us that men are physically stronger than women. Men run faster than women. This isn’t because males train more. It’s because they have more muscle mass, greater bone size, and even more heart and lung capacity.
Clearly, biological males have a competitive advantage over females in sports.
But if you’re still not convinced of this, just take a look at CIAC’s race titles since 2017. Male athletes who identity as female have won race after race, collecting state titles along the way. In fact, since CIAC changed their policy, two male athletes have taken 15 state titles that were previously held by 9 different girls in 2016.
Here are just a few of these championship titles:
- At the 2018 CIAC State Open Championship, two biological males took first and second place in the Women’s Varsity 100-meter dash.
- At the 2019 Indoor Track Championship in January, a male athlete won both the Women’s 55-meter dash and the Women’s 300-meter dash.
- At the 2019 CIAC Combined State Open Championship in June, a male athlete won the Women’s 200-meter dash.
And it even goes beyond the state level. One of these male athletes went on to win the Women’s 200-meter dash at the 2019 New England Interscholastic Track and Field Championships.
It shouldn’t be surprising that male athletes can outrun female athletes.
What is surprising is that officials from CIAC are allowing biological males to deprive so many girls of the championship titles they’ve trained so hard to achieve. They’re stripping girls of opportunities—not just on race day but for their future college scholarships, athletic careers, and more.
Selina knows firsthand how it feels to have opportunities taken away from her.
After months of training for the 55-meter dash, Selina placed just one spot away from qualifying for the 55m final and a chance to compete for a spot in the New England regional championships, where many college scouts attend. Two male athletes had taken first and second in that race. Had they not been permitted to do so, Selina likely would have competed at the New England regional championships in front of college scouts.
Fighting to Preserve Women’s Sports
If you knew you couldn’t win—would you still train as hard as Selina does? Her continued dedication is a testament to a determination far beyond her years.
Selina is a fighter. And that’s why she decided she needed to take action—not only for herself, but for the hundreds of other girls subject to this unfair policy. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, she and two other female athletes filed a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
Title IX was created to ensure that girls had the same opportunities in education and athletics as boys. And for nearly 50 years, it has. But now, policies like CIAC’s are beginning to create an unfair playing field for female athletes, reversing the progress Title IX has created.
But the race isn’t over yet. The Office for Civil Rights has an opportunity to right this wrong and give runners like Selina the fair start they deserve.