The families of three Connecticut high school track and field athletes filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that seeks to change a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference rule that allows high school athletes to compete in sports corresponding with their gender identity.

The three athletes — Chelsea Mitchell of Canton, Alanna Smith of Danbury and Selina Soule of Glastonbury — took to the steps of the state capitol in Hartford to announce the the lawsuit, which argues that allowing transgender athletes to compete in girls’ sports creates a competitive disadvantage and hurts scholarship opportunities of non-trans athletes.

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing them to compete against boys isn’t fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities,” said attorney Christiana Holcomb in a statement announcing the suit. “Having separate boys’ and girls’ sports has always been based on biological differences, not what people believe about their gender, because those differences matter for fair competition. And forcing girls to be spectators in their own sports is completely at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics.”

The lawsuit centers on senior transgender runners Andraya Yearwood of Cromwell High and Terry Miller of Bloomfield, who made national headlines after finishing first and second in the 55-meter dash at the state indoor track championships last winter. Last spring, Miller won the 200-meter dash and was part of the first-place 4x400-meter relay team at the state outdoor championships. Yearwood and Miller have won a combined 15 state titles in different events.

The plaintiffs argue in the suit that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s policy and others like it violates Title IX because “inescapable biological facts of the human species [are] not stereotypes, ‘social constructs,’ or relics of past discrimination.”

Neither Yearwood nor Miller could immediately be reached for comment. The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted in support of Yearwood and Miller: “This lawsuit is clearly about trans students, yet those students have no voice in the lawsuit. This is wrong. We at the ACLU will be seeking to intervene in this lawsuit as a new party, to give trans students a voice.”

The lawsuit names the Connecticut Association of Schools and Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference as defendants, as well as Cromwell Public Schools Board of Education, Bloomfield Public Schools Board of Education, Glastonbury Public Schools Board of Education, Canton Public Schools Board of Education and Danbury Public Schools Board of Education.

Connecticut is one of 17 states with a fully inclusive policy for transgender athletes to compete, according to

The lawsuit comes in the wake of Mitchell, Smith and Soule filing a Title IX complaint targeting the state’s athletic transgender policy in June, and comes at a time when lawmakers are proposing legislation to change athletic transgender policy. More than a dozen states have introduced new bills in the past two months alone, including in West Virginia, Washington, Iowa, New Hampshire, Tennessee and South Carolina.

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