Three female high school athletes who have taken legal action against a policy allowing transgender athletes to compete in girls’ sports will receive the Connecticut Republican Party’s Courage Award.
Chelsea Mitchell, a senior at Canton High School, Alanna Smith, a sophomore at Danbury High School, and Selina Soule, a senior at Glastonbury High School, will be honored at a fundraising event recognizing women in leadership roles on March 25, The Associated Press reported.
“We think in today’s day and age these young women standing up for what they believe should be honored,” party chairman J.R. Romano said, according to the Hartford Courant.
The three teenagers are suing the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and several school boards in the area for allowing transgender athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify.
— Channel 1 Atlanta News (@channel1atlanta) February 18, 2020
According to the lawsuit, allowing boys who identify as female to compete in girls’ categories has given them an unfair advantage.
“Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” Smith said.
“That biological unfairness doesn’t go away because of what someone believes about gender identity. All girls deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field.”
The students have also filed a federal Title IX discrimination complaint, which the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is investigating.
The case was submitted by the conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.
“Women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides,” the statement from legal counsel Christina Holcomb said, according to CBS News.
“Allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women under this law. We shouldn’t force these young women to be spectators in their own sports.”
Nancy Wyman, the former lieutenant governor of Connecticut who leads the state’s Democratic Party, said it was “beyond shameful” that Connecticut Republicans are using the students’ plight to raise money, according to the Hartford Courant.
“Whatever your beliefs, we’re talking about the lives of teenagers,” she said. “If the Republicans really cared about these young people, they would never make this a money issue. Are there any boundaries left that the Republican Party won’t cross?”
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has maintained that its policy allowing transgender athletes who have not undergone hormone therapy to compete as the gender with which they identify is fair and appropriate, according to the Hartford Courant.
In a June appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Soule said that opportunities are being taken away from female athletes by their transgender competitors.
“No one in the state of Connecticut is happy about this, but no one has enough courage to speak up,” Soule told Carlson.
“I haven’t been the only one affected by this. There have been countless other female athletes in the state of Connecticut, as well as my entire indoor track team. We missed out on winning the state open championship because of the team that the transgender athlete was on.”