Canton’s Chelsea Mitchell, one of the girls involved in a lawsuit seeking to block transgender athletes in Connecticut from participating in girls sports, beat out one of her transgender opponents targeted by that lawsuit in a track meet Friday.
Mitchell’s family is one of three who filed a lawsuit Wednesday arguing that transgender athletes should not be allowed to participate in girls sports, saying it is unfair. Conservative nonprofit organization Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the families. The organization argues that allowing athletes with male anatomy to compete has deprived their clients of track titles and scholarship opportunities.
The lawsuit centers on two transgender sprinters, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who have frequently outperformed their cisgender competitors.
However, on Friday Mitchell beat out Miller in the 55m.
Mitchell said she was proud of the win against Miller, who she had never beaten before, and that her focus had been on being the best athlete she could be, not the events of the last few days.
“I try to just clear everything out of my mind, this is just track, you know, it’s just running, just focusing on myself, not trying to think about anything else that’s been happening,” she said.
When asked if she felt the lawsuit was necessary now, she said she was not sure how to answer that question, but said she did not believe her win would hurt their case.
"I don’t think it could go against, there’s still tons of girls that lose on a daily basis," Mitchell said.
Glenn Lungarini, the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference executive director said they believe their policy follows federal law and state anti-discrimination law that says students must be treated in school by the gender with which they identify.
“CIAC sports exists for all students and we pride ourselves on proving equity in the competitions that we run for all Connecticut athletes," Lungarini said Friday.
He added that the CIAC is reviewing the lawsuit and will have further comment at a later date.
The ACLU has spoken out against the lawsuit, calling it “a dangerous distortion of both law and science in the service of excluding trans youth from public life.”
Miller and Yearwood also released statements defending their right to compete.
"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," Miller wrote in part.
Miller's coach declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday.
Connecticut is one of 17 states that allowed transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions in 2019, according to Transathlete.com, which tracks state policies in high school sports across the country. Eight states had restrictions that make it difficult for transgender athletes to compete while in school, such requiring athletes to compete under the gender on their birth certificate, or allowing them to participate only after going through sex reassignment procedures or hormone therapies, according to Transathlete.
Yearwood and Miller have said they are still in the process of transitioning but have declined to provide details.