Transgender athletes seek to become defendants in lawsuit

Two transgender high school runners want to become defendants in a federal lawsuit that seeks to block them from participating in girls sports in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Two transgender high school runners want to become defendants in a federal lawsuit that seeks to block them from participating in girls sports in Connecticut.

Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood would be stripped of the right to run track this spring if a judge rules against a state policy that allows high school athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify, their lawyers argued in a court filing Friday.

Attorneys for three girls filed the lawsuit last week against the state board that governs high school athletics and several school districts.

Miller and Yearwood want a U.S. district judge to delay ruling on a motion that would expedite a temporary injunction against the state policy. Their attorneys indicated to the court they plan to file a motion to intervene in the case this week.

“Plaintiffs should not be allowed to file a lawsuit whose core purpose is to exclude Andraya and Terry from the spring track meets, but then prevent them from participating in the lawsuit by not naming them as parties," attorney Dan Barrett wrote in Friday's filing.

Attorneys for the three girls who sued argued Tuesday against any delay and wrote that their lawsuit filed under Title IX, the federal educational law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, followed the law by focusing on the policy and not naming the two transgender girls as defendants.

“Notably, while there are a great many reported Title IX decisions on the books, Yearwood and Miller cite not a single case in which students whose interests or wishes would be adversely impacted by the requested relief were joined as parties, necessary or otherwise,” the attorneys wrote.

Connecticut is one of 17 states that allowed transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions in 2019, according to Transathlete.com, which tracks state policies in high school sports across the country.

Eight states had restrictions that make it difficult for transgender athletes to compete while in school, such as requiring athletes to compete under the gender on their birth certificate, or allowing them to participate only after going through sex reassignment procedures or hormone therapies, according to Transathlete.

Both transgender athletes are receiving hormone therapy as treatment for gender dysphoria, and both have hormone levels, “including testosterone levels, circulating in their bodies that are typical for non-transgender girls,” lawyers for Miller and Yearwood said in their filing. "They are recognized as girls by their parents, teachers, teammates, coaches, and community."

The two seniors have combined to win 15 girls state indoor or outdoor championship races since 2017, according to the lawsuit.

One of the plaintiffs, Chelsea Mitchell, on Friday won the Class S 55-meter state indoor title by edging Terry Miller. She said it was her first win in a head-to-head race.