A former female high school athlete who filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference over its decision to allow transgender athletes to compete on the team of their choice said being forced to compete against biological males shattered her confidence.
“I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to transgender runners,” Chelsea Mitchell wrote in an op-ed for USA Today.
“I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019 behind two transgender runners,” Mitchell added. “With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again.”
Mitchell said she remembers feeling dejected ahead of a big race last February because she worried her best “might not be enough, simply because there’s a transgender runner on the line with an enormous physical advantage.”
She went on to win that race, but she said she lost many others to biological males.
“That’s a devastating experience,” she wrote. “It tells me that I’m not good enough; that my body isn’t good enough; and that no matter how hard I work, I am unlikely to succeed, because I’m a woman.”
Last year, Mitchell and two other female track stars sued the state to stop biological males from competing against them. However, the lawsuit was dismissed by a federal court.
Mitchell said she believes the court’s decision to toss her case “tells women and girls that their feelings and opportunities don’t matter, and that they can’t expect anyone to stand up for their dignity and their rights.”
She also said she plans to appeal the federal court’s ruling.
“So as we prepare for this next step in the case, I’m settling into my starting blocks again, but for a different kind of race,” she wrote. “And this time, I’m confident that we can win.”