Feb 23, 2021
Justice Department withdraws from transgender athlete case
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The U.S. Justice Department has removed its support for a federal lawsuit in Connecticut that seeks to reverse a state policy allowing the participation of transgender athletes in girl’s high school sports.
The lawsuit was filed a year ago by several cisgender runners who argue they have been deprived of wins, state titles and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against two transgender sprinters.
The Justice Department’s move comes just days before a Friday hearing on a motion to dismiss that lawsuit.
Last March, then-Attorney General William Barr signed what is known as a statement of interest in the lawsuit, arguing the policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the board that oversees the state’s high school athletic competitions, runs afoul of Title IX, the federal law that allows girls equal educational opportunities, including in athletics.
In a filing Tuesday, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham and other department officials withdrew Barr’s statement, saying “The government has reconsidered the matter.”
Attorneys for the plaintiffs declined to comment.
The CIAC allows athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify and has said it is following a state law that requires all high school students be treated according to their gender identity.
The U.S. Department of Education’s office for Civil Right last summer sent a letter threatening to cut off some federal funding to Connecticut school districts that followed the policy.
But during his campaign, President Biden committed to restoring transgender students’ access to sports, bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.
Dan Barrett, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, which represents the two transgender athletes in the lawsuit, said Tuesdays action represents “a hint that the government, the Department of Education, may now have a different view of Title IX.”
CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini has said the organization’s transgender policy was formed with federal and state guidance and that multiple courts and federal agencies, including the Justice Department had previously acknowledged that the term “sex” in Title IX is ambiguous.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said Tuesday he was pleased with the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to withdraw Barr’s statement.
“Transgender girls are girls and every woman and girl deserves protection against discrimination. Period,” he said in a statement.
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Tags: justice department’s barr’s statement attorney general william transgender athletes the justice department two transgender in the lawsuit the government the government department said tuesday the lawsuit a statement high school the justice title ix federal law
Trump slams Equality Act, calls for protection of womens sports
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Former President Donald Trump slammed the Equality Act during comments Sunday at Florida’s Conservative Political Action Conference, saying it will destroy women’s athletics by allowing transgender athletes to compete.
“Young girls and women are incensed that they are now being forced to compete against those who are biological males,” Trump said. “It’s not good for women, it’s not good for women’s sports, which worked so long and so hard to get where they are.”
“The records that stood for years, even decades, are now being smashed with ease,” he said. “If this is not changed women’s sports as we know it will die.”
“You know, for years the weightlifting, every ounce is like a big deal for many years,” Trump said. “All of a sudden somebody comes along and beats it by 100 pounds.”
Trump declared, “We must protect the integrity of women’s sports. So important.”
The act, passed by the House last week, seeks to expand anti-discrimination laws to include gay, lesbian, bi, and transgender people — including trans female student athletes who seek to compete with other girls.
The bill passed 224-206 and was touted by Democrats as a historic stride toward fairness. But Republicans decried the bill for a variety of potential implications, including the possibility that biologically female student athletes could be at a disadvantage to transgender classmates.
Tennis star Martina Navratilova and four-time Olympics gold medalist runner Sanya Richards-Ross argued in a 2019 op-ed that the bill, which passed 236-173 that year, would ensure “there will always be significant numbers of boys and men who would beat the best girls and women in head-to-head competition.”Former US President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida on February 28, 2021.
REUTERS/Octavio JonesFormer US President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida on February 28, 2021.
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The sports pros wrote: “We support transgender women and girls and their right to equality, and we recognize their personal struggle. We don’t worry that boys and men will feign transgender identity to gain an advantage. But we do hope that lawmakers won’t make the unnecessary and ironic mistake of sacrificing the enormously valuable social good that is female sports in their effort to secure the rights of transgender women and girls.”
Similar concerns were raised last month with an anti-discrimination executive order signed by President Biden that critics said could force professional sports leagues for women to accept transgender applicants.Filed under cpac , donald trump , equality , 2/28/21