The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Connecticut scholastic athletic policy Friday that allows transgender students to play on teams most consistent with their gender identities.
The American Civil Liberties Union, as well as the ACLU Foundation of Connecticut, defended the transgender youth policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) in the first federal court case—Soule et al v. CT Association of Schools et al—that challenged the state’s transgender inclusion policy. In 2020, the complaint was first filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal organization, along with four cisgender female athletes: Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith and Ashley Nicoletti.
The examples the court noted in support of the ruling included several instances of cisgender female runners placing ahead of Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, two trans female runners at the center of the case.
“Today’s ruling is a critical victory for fairness, equality, and inclusion,” Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in the organization’s press release. “The court rejected the baseless zero-sum arguments presented by the opposition to this policy and ultimately found transgender girls have as much a right to play as cisgender girls under Title IX.”
In the ADF’s press release, senior counsel Christiana Kiefer said that the group is considering appealing Friday’s decision. “The 2nd Circuit got it wrong, and we’re evaluating all legal options, including appeal. Our clients—like all female athletes—deserve access to fair competition.”