In Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) senior counsel Christiana Kiefer defended four female athletes who were denied honors and opportunities because the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allows biological males to compete in women's sports.
"The court essentially looked at our clients and said that their losses and their wrong and incorrect records don't matter," Kiefer summarizes. "That's a slap in the face to female athletes."
In 2017, two male athletes began competing in girls' high school track and soon broke 17 girls' track meet records, depriving the plaintiffs of 85 opportunities to advance in competition.
According to the Associated Press, the three-judge panel said the four "cisgender" athletes lacked standing to sue — in part because their claims that they were deprived of wins, state titles, and athletic scholarship opportunities were speculative.
"All four plaintiffs regularly competed at state track championships as high school athletes, where plaintiffs had the opportunity to compete for state titles in different events," the decision said. "And, on numerous occasions, plaintiffs were indeed 'champions,' finishing first in various events, even sometimes when competing against (transgender athletes)."
"Plaintiffs simply have not been deprived of a 'chance to be champions,'" the judges added.
"Although we're disappointed with the Second Circuit's decision, I am ultimately optimistic about the overall trends across the country of protecting women's sports and of standing up for female athletes," Kiefer tells AFN.
High schools in Cherokee County, North Carolina, for example, canceled volleyball matches with Highlands High earlier this year after the team's transgender female – a boy – spiked the ball at the net and severely hurt a female opponent.
ADF is currently assessing its options in the Connecticut case, including appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.