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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 28, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 26
Women's rights groups defend Trans-inclusive student athletics policy
Section One
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Women's rights groups defend Trans-inclusive student athletics policy

Reply to lawsuit seeking to bar Trans students from sports teams

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A 'united front' of 16 women's rights and gender justice organizations in Connecticut have released a collective statement in support of Transgender students competing in high-school athletics according to their gender identity.

The statement comes one week after three Connecticut high-school students filed a federal discrimination complaint challenging the state's policy of letting Trans students compete on sports teams according to their gender identity.

The three students are represented by the anti-LGBT Christian law firm called Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Kate Farrar, executive director of Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund - one of the groups that cosigned the collective statement - told Outsports, 'The heart of feminism is acknowledging gender identify and recognizing all aspect of oppression.'

'In that vein,' she continued, 'we felt the need to show a united front of support for transgender rights in our state.'

'As organizations that care deeply about ending discrimination against women and girls, we support laws and policies that protect transgender people from discrimination, including in participation in sports,' the collective statement says.

'Together, we reject unfounded fears about transgender athletes in our state and reject the suggestion that cisgender women and girls benefit from the exclusion of women and girls who happen to be transgender.

'Instead, we recognize that all women and girls are harmed when some are denied opportunities to participate in sports because of stereotypes and fear.'

The discrimination complaint was filed on behalf of three girls on June 17 by the ADF, which has also filed over 40 cases against Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England is one of the groups signing on to the statement supporting Trans rights.

The ADF complaint to the US Department of Education alleges that Connecticut's policy violates Title IX, the federal civil rights law that is meant to ensure students have equal access to opportunities regardless of their sex. The Obama administration held that Title IX actually protects Trans students and gives them the right to compete on teams and use locker rooms and restrooms based on their gender identity.

The complaint, which refers to Trans girls as 'biological males,' says that Trans athletes should not be allowed to compete in the category corresponding to their gender identity because it would be unfair to cisgender girls.

'The complaint is alarming; first, because of the misgendering, and second, because of the idea it sends: that it's appropriate to look behind someone's gender identity and saying, 'We don't think you are real,' ACLU Connecticut Legal Director Dan Barrett told Outsports.

'This complaint is just another way of taking away personal autonomy and making the government 'the gender police.' That's offensive and it's just another attack on trans people.'

The joint statement of the 16 organizations also affirmed this point, saying, 'Transgender girls are girls and transgender women are women. They are not and should not be referred to as boys or men, biological or otherwise.

'We speak from expertise when we say that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people - including women and girls who are transgender - advance women's equality and well-being.'

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