A 20-year-old runner is fighting against a Connecticut state policy which resulted in her losing more than 20 races during her high school track career to transgender athletes.
Chelsea Mitchell, once ranked the fastest female sprinter in the 55-yard dash in Connecticut, filed a lawsuit in 2020 with the Alliance Defending Freedom against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) over the state’s policy that allows transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports, the New York Post reported.
Now entering its third year, Mitchell is hoping her lawsuit will help build a coalition of supporters demanding change “because girls and women shouldn’t be stripped of their right to fair competition,” she wrote in an op-ed.
“At the end of the day, this is just about fairness. This is about biology,” Mitchell told the New York Post.
Research has shown that success in running, both in distance and sprinting, is largely determined by aerobic capacity and muscular strength, each of which biological men possess in a greater capacity than women.
“I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to male runners. I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019, behind two male runners. With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again,” Mitchell wrote in her op-ed.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 1, 2023
Teaming up with fellow runners Selina Soule, 20, Ashley Nicoletti, 19, and Alanna Smith, 19, Mitchell decided enough was enough and filed the lawsuit “to give voice to [her] story and help other girls out there so that they wouldn’t have to experience this,” she told the New York Post.
Mitchell detailed to the New York Post how, as a freshman in high school, she realized her potential as a runner. By setting personal goals, she improved her times and found herself at a state track competition where she was forced to compete against a transgender athlete. In the subsequent race, the trans competitor edged Mitchell out of the qualifying round.
“It was just obvious to everyone there that they had a huge advantage. Everyone could see it,” Mitchell told the New York Post (RELATED: Watch “Damaged: The Transing of America’s Kids”).
The following year, a second transgender athlete joined the field of competitors, regularly blowing away his biologically female peers in races, Mitchell explained. “Just two athletes took so many opportunities away from biological females. Even though there were only two of them, they took 15 state championships away from other girls — and there were 85 girls that were directly impacted from them being in the races,” Mitchell told the outlet.
By her senior year, Mitchell was frustrated but determined to do something about it. “It was like, if I don’t speak up for myself, who else is going to speak up for me? As much as I wanted the coaches and administrators to speak up, at the end of the day, they weren’t,” she told the New York Post.
A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court rejected Mitchell’s lawsuit in December, but it is now scheduled to go before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City on June 6. (RELATED: ‘We Are Asking For The Bare Minimum’: Riley Gaines Blasts Biden Admin Over Title IX Rewrite)
“We’re hopeful that the court will declare that this Connecticut policy violates Title IX,” Mitchell’s lawyer Matt Sharp of Alliance Defending Freedom told the New York Post. “We’re asking for the court to recognize the damage done to Chelsea and the other athletes, and to restore their record and the credit that they rightfully worked hard to earn.”
Running is not the only sport affected by transgender athletes. Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won an Ivy League Championship in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event last year after beating most competitors by about one lap.
Studies have confirmed that biological men hold an advantage over women in “strength, stamina, and physique,” even after testosterone suppression.