This Viewpoint was originally published in CT Mirror on August 15, 2019.
My family is not part of the Title IX discrimination complaint filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of three high school girls track athletes in Connecticut, yet I’ve observed in person what has been unfolding at multiple track events over the past two indoor track seasons in 2018 and 2019.
I read the ADF’s 29-page Title IX complaint and I’m impressed with their thorough assessment of the Connecticut high school girls track situation. Title IX was established to provide equal opportunities for both sexes. ADF has outlined how far the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), the state high school sports governing body, has allowed things to stray from the mission of Title IX.
My daughter and more than 70 female high school teammates enjoy the camaraderie and competition that girls track presents to them. Many girls train hard and care deeply about the results and in the state of Connecticut they have come to realize a huge disadvantage resulting from the entrance of transgender athletes who have every biological, anatomical and physiological characteristic of a male athlete. The competitive girls are extremely frustrated that they are being excluded from any possibility of winning, and in many instances, the possibility of advancing in competitions.
When one observes the girls track events in person in Connecticut it becomes so obvious that an unfair competition is occurring when the transgender athletes enter a race. The transgender athletes and their supporters argue for a fairness range where some girls are taller or train harder or have access to better training which is all true, but they fail to fully acknowledge the effect of testosterone levels in the male body versus the female body. Testosterone is the difference maker and is impossible to overcome.
Two transgender athletes have taken 15 female state championship titles and have taken more than 40 opportunities to participate in higher level competitions from female athletes in the past three years alone. These biological male athletes are not elite athletes and they would not have qualified for the Connecticut State Open in the boys’ category.
The large Hartford-based daily newspaper formally named one of the transgender athletes its “Girls Indoor Track Athlete of the Year” in April 2019. Other deserving girls’ athletes were excluded from this recognition.
The two transgender athletes were given Courage Awards at the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance banquet in April 2019. Let’s be sure to acknowledge the courage of the girl athletes who bite their tongues and wipe away tears with the fear they better not speak up, because such a one-sided Connecticut media will chastise them for not conforming to their political ideology, which is so out of touch with the majority of competitive girls’ athletes.
Consider other high school girls team sports beyond track. A huge uproar would come from a much broader audience if a transgender athlete participated in Connecticut high school girls’ basketball and helped a team run away with a state championship by scoring 28 of that team’s 54 points including a few slam dunks in a 54-39 victory in the state championship game before a large audience. In fact, that sort of thing actually happened at the Connecticut State Open Girls Indoor Track Championship in February 2019 when a transgender athlete contributed 28 of Bloomfield High School’s 54 points to claim first place and the championship trophy over Glastonbury High School, whose girls earned 39 points and deserved the achievement and recognition, none of which came from the overall Connecticut media or their high school administration.
The ADF’s Title IX Complaint is focused on Connecticut high school girls track which is the situation staring everyone in the face now. Neither its complaint nor the current CIAC policy makes any mention of girls’ safety. Imagine the risk to girls’ safety if an elite transgender athlete were to compete in a girls’ sport where there is contact such as hockey, soccer, lacrosse, basketball or field hockey. I can’t even fathom that the CIAC would not establish any safety measures to protect girls in their one-sided transgender policy, but they haven’t.
On August 7, 2019, the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it has launched an investigation. I’m sure much of the media will be telling the OCR to listen to the transgender athletes and their supporters. I’m speaking up on behalf of the overwhelming majority of American citizens and especially competitive girls’ athletes and ask the OCR to listen closely to all of us. It’s time for everyone to look again at the mission of Title IX and realize the transgender policy put in place by the CIAC completely disregards competitive girls’ athletes.
Common sense needs to prevail. Title IX needs to prevail.
Jon Forrest lives in Glastonbury.