Chelsea Mitchell was once the fastest high school girl runner in Connecticut, but when the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) allowed transgender girls to compete in women's sports, she felt she was robbed of the opportunity to succeed in more competitions. Her "devastating experience" playing against transgender female athletes who were born male urged her and three other athletes to file a case against CIAC last year over their decision to allow transgender atheletes to compete in women's sports.
According to Faithwire, Mitchell recounted how it felt to lose "four women's state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to male runners," saying it was a truly "devastating experience."
"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," Mitchell said in a USA Today editorial published on Sunday.
Just last month, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mitchell and her co-athletes, Selina Soule and Alanna Smith. The judge ruled that the two transgender athletes, Terry Miller of Bloomfield and Andraya Yearwood of Cromwell, both graduated, so "there was no further dispute to resolve," Hartford Courant reported.
Mitchell's team could also not present any transgender student who competed in the girls' track at the time. Transgender activists saw it as a victory, claiming that CIAC's policies are in line with current federal laws that ban discrimination based on gender identity.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents Mitchell and other female runners, argued that since the CIAC allowed biological males to compete in women's state track championship games, girls have been robbed of more than 85 "opportunities to participate in higher levels of competition" by biologically male yet female identifying athletes.
Mitchell added that CIAC's policy of allowing transgender girls to play in girls' sports "robs girls of the chance to race in front of college scouts who show up for elite meets, and to compete for the scholarships and opportunities that come with college recruitment."
Mitchell lamented that losing to transgender athletes has also affected her college applications, saying that losing four state championship titles will make her appear as a "second- or third-place runner," not the fastest high school girl runner in Connecticut that many recognize her to be due to her stellar record before competing against the transgender athletes.
Evangelist and Samaritan's Purse CEO Franklin Graham took to Facebook to show his support to Mitchell and condemn women's rights activists for "not speaking out and defending women and girls in sports." He argued that while Mitchell was the fastest high school girl runner in Connecticut, she was still defeated in several women's state championship titles and awards by biological male athletes who identify as female.
Graham warned that this phenomenon is now happening to more and more young women. The judge's dismissal of Mitchell's case, he believed, "sends a message to women and girls that their opportunities and their rights don't matter."