A complaint filed with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights challenges a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy allowing all student athletes, including transgender students, to compete in sports that correspond with their gender identity.
The following are reactions from national ACLU attorney Chase Strangio, as well as Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, two transgender track and field athletes and students whose rights to compete are questioned by the complaint.
Statement from Terry Miller: “I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I no longer want to remain silent. I am a girl and I am a runner. I participate in athletics just like my peers to excel, find community and meaning in my life. It is both unfair and painful that my victories have to be attacked and my hard work ignored. Living in a state that protects my rights is something that I do not take for granted. So many young trans people face exclusion at school and in athletics and it contributes to the horrible pain and discrimination that my community faces. The more we are told that we don’t belong and should be ashamed of who we are, the fewer opportunities we have to participate in sports at all. And being an athlete can help us survive. But instead we are being told to be quiet, to go home, to stop being who we are. I will continue to fight for all trans people to compete and participate consistent with who we are. There is a long history of excluding Black girls from sport and policing our bodies. I am a runner and I will keep running and keep fighting for my existence, my community and my rights.”
Statement from Andraya Yearwood: “I have known two things for most of my life: I am a girl and I love to run. There is no shortage of discrimination that I face as a young Black woman who is transgender. I have to wake up every day in a world where people who look like me face so many scary and unfair things. I am lucky to live in a state that protects my rights and to have a family that supports me. This is what keeps me going. Every day I train hard - I work hard to succeed on the track, to support my teammates, and to make my community proud. It is so painful that people not only want to tear down my successes but take down the laws and policies that protect people like me. I will never stop being me! I will never stop running! I hope that the next generation of trans youth doesn't have to fight the fights that I have. I hope they can be celebrated when they succeed not demonized. For the next generation, I run for you!”
Statement from Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project: “It is heartbreaking to see yet another attack on trans youth for simply participating in activities alongside their peers. Discrimination on the basis of sex extends to trans people. Girls who are transgender are girls. Attacking two Black young women who are simply participating in the sport they love just because they are transgender is wrong, it is dangerous, and it is distorts Title IX, which is a law that protects all students on the basis of sex. Efforts to undermine Title IX by claiming it doesn’t apply to a subset of girls will ultimately hurt all students.”
For a statement from women’s rights and gender justice organizations in support of full and equal access to participation in athletics for transgender people: https://www.aclu.org/letter/statement-womens-rights-and-gender-justice-organizations-support-full-and-equal-access
For information about trans girls’ rights to compete in school sports: https://www.aclu.org/blog/lgbt-rights/transgender-rights/banning-trans-girls-school-sports-neither-feminist-nor-legal