Terry Miller of Bloomfield High and Andraya Yearwood of Cromwell High recently finished first and second in the 55-meter dash in Connecticut’s state track championships, with Miller breaking the state record. Everyone is not cheering on their accomplishments, believing the two have an unfair advantage over the other competitors. Both Miller and Yearwood are transgender and transitioning to female.
Connecticut is one of seventeen states that allow athletes to compete based on their gender identity rather than their biological sex. In the case the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, they are following the state’s anti-discrimination policy. Their executive director, Glenn Lungarini, said, "This is about someone's right to compete. I don't think this is that different from other classes of people, who, in the not too distant past, were not allowed to compete. I think it's going to take education and understanding to get to that point on this issue."
Miller and Yearwood’s competitors don’t feel the same. One runner, Selina Soule, believes the pair have an unfair advantage. She said, “We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing.” Then she added, “I fully support and am happy for these athletes for being true to themselves. They should have the right to express themselves in school, but athletics have always had extra rules to keep the competition fair."
The controversy in Connecticut is a small slice of the growing discussion about the role of transgender women in sports. Last week former tennis star Martina Navratilova drew the ire of trans activists when she wrote an op-ed in which she argued that it is “insane” for transgender women to compete and achieve more than they ever would have as men.
One group which supports LGBT people in sports, Athlete Ally, removed Navratilova as a board member and ambassador after her comments. Navratilova refused to back down from her stand, saying that she rejects "what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as 'transphobes.'"
In Connecticut, some parents are arguing that those competing with girls should have to meet certain hormone standards. Lungarini said it is not possible for the state’s governing organization to perform that kind of testing. Instead, they allow schools to inform them of which athletes identify as which gender.
Connecticut is one of seventeen states that has no restrictions on transgender girls competing against girls. Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”
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