Court dismisses suit over transgender athletes in Connecticut

Two female athletes in Connecticut filed suit to challenge the rules of the Connecticut version of the UIL that permitted transgender students to compete in the sport that aligned with their gender identity.  The suit claims that two athletes who were biologically male were allowed to compete in girls’ track.  And they won at the state track meet. The suit alleged that Connecticut’s rule discriminated against girls in violation of Title IX.

On April 25,2021, the federal court dismissed the suit, thus leaving Connecticut’s rule in place. The court held that the case had become moot. The two girls who filed the suit had graduated, and thus, could no longer compete in high school track.  Other students had joined the suit, however, who were still eligible to compete.  But the court held that they failed to show that they were facing any realistic possibility of a legal injury. The court observed that “a legally cognizable injury to these plaintiffs would depend on a transgender student running in the same events and achieving substantially similar times.”  There was speculation that they could face competition from a transgender athlete who could effectively compete in the same event, but that’s all it was—speculation. That wasn’t good enough.

Our legislature is contemplating a law that would bar transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports.  Before passing such a law, our leaders would be wise to consider the last part of this court’s decision:

Courts across the country have consistently held that Title IX requires schools to treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.  Every Court of Appeals to consider the issue has so held. 

In support of that statement the court cites cases from the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 9th Circuits.  We should note, however, that none of those cases have specifically addressed athletics.

This one is Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, Inc., decided by the federal court for the District of Connecticut on April 25, 2021.


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