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Connecticut groups come out in support of trans athletes after high school teens file complaint

Selina Soule and two other Connecticut girls say the state policy allowing trans girls to compete violated their civil rights and possibly deprived them of scholarships.

Selina Soule
YouTube

UPDATE: The New Haven Pride Center announced Monday it is leading a group of Connecticut organizations in a letter of solidarity against a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

In their statement, the groups declared:

“We are in solidarity with Andraya Yearwood, Terry Miller, and all other transgender student athletes in the Constitution State. As organizations that care deeply about ending discrimination against women and girls, we support laws and policies that protect transgender people from discrimination, including in participation in sports.

“Together, we reject unfounded fears about transgender athletes in our state and reject the suggestion that cisgender women and girls benefit from the exclusion of women and girls who happen to be transgender. Instead, we recognize that all women and girls are harmed when some are denied opportunities to participate in sports because of stereotypes and fear.

And within their statement are three sentences which directly address the complaint and unequivocally show their support for transgender inclusion:

“Transgender girls are girls and transgender women are women. They are not and should not be referred to as boys or men, biological or otherwise. We speak from expertise when we say that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people — including women and girls who are transgender — advance women’s equality and well-being.”

ORIGINAL STORY: Three cisgender high school students in Connecticut filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Monday against Connecticut’s statewide policy allowing transgender girls to compete with them.

The girls are all represented by the anti-LGBTQ Christian-run advocacy law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group. While two of the girls were not named because they are minors, a third was identified as Selina Soule of Glastonbury, Conn.

Soule has frequently appeared on Fox News about her losses to trans athletes, including Monday night on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” when the ADF broke the news of its complaint. As transgender writer Parker Molloy noted, it was yet another episode in which the conservative host focused on transgender Americans and trans athletes.

She also recorded a YouTube video about her losses, which has been viewed more than 24K times.

The letter sent to the DOE’s Boston Office for Civil Rights asks for an investigation into the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s “discriminatory policy” that ADF claims “threaten to reverse the gains for girls and women that Title IX has achieved since 1972.”

“This discriminatory policy is now regularly resulting in boys displacing girls in competitive track events in Connecticut—excluding specific and identifiable girls including Complainants from honors, opportunities to compete at higher levels, and public recognition critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities that should go to those girls.”

The ADF names two transgender girls, Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, and misgenders them throughout the complaint by referring to them as “male in every biological and physiological respect.” There is one caveat: “We do not question any gender identity claimed by any students, and use the names preferred by each student rather than legal names,” the group wrote.

The ADF claims it has documented “50 separate times in competitions since 2017 that specific, identifiable girls have been denied the recognition of being named state level first-place champions, and/or have been denied the opportunity to advance and participate in higher-level competition, in CIAC-sponsored events as a result of the unfair participation of Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood in girls’ track competitions.”

Outsports reached out to Yearwood’s parents and to other trans athletes for reaction.

“It’s laughable to think that a couple of trans girls cost these three plaintiffs anything,” said Athena Del Rosario.

“Prospective colleges are going to be looking at their finish times and not what place they came in. They should have trained in such a way that would of been conducive to achieving their goals of making better times that would attract college recruiters. There are literally hundreds of colleges. The only thing that may have cost them opportunities is their poor attitudes towards other athletes and their focus on others instead of themselves.

“If anything those numbers in the finish times prove that they don’t have an advantage.”

“They wouldn’t have filed this had not Cecé Telfer won [an NCAA national championship] in the last month or so,” said Chloe Psyche Anderson.

“It sounds like they’re trying to use this incident as proof that they’re being disenfranchised despite the fact cis women outnumber trans people, let alone trans high school track and field runners (a super small margin of the trans community) by a lot. It almost sounds like they’re trying to target only a few players, which in itself is straight up discrimination. This sounds like horse shit.”

Rahsaan Yearwood, Andraya’s father, told Outsports he was certain this was the work of Bianca Stanescu, Selina Soule’s mother, who before this complaint started a petition to change the CIAC rules allowing trans girls to compete with cisgender girls.

“I’m sure she started it,” Yearwood said. “Doubt this goes anywhere.”

Stanescu was frustrated to have received only 196 signatures on her petition, and also failed in her effort to win support from state and local lawmakers to change the CIAC rules. Connecticut has had a non-discrimination law on the books to protect transgender individuals since 2011.

Outsports has also reached out to the family of trans athlete Terry Miller for comment.