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Judge dismisses lawsuit that sought to block transgender athletes from CIAC competition

The ruling says the case became moot because the two plaintiffs are no longer facing competition from any transgender athletes.

HARTFORD, Conn. — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to prevent transgender athletes from competing in girls' high school sports in Connecticut. 

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allows high school athletes to compete in sports according to their gender identity. The lawsuit was filed a year ago by cisgender runners who argued they were deprived of wins, state titles, and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against two transgender sprinters. 

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny dismissed the lawsuit on procedural grounds, saying in his ruling that there was no dispute to resolve because the two transgender athletes have graduated.

In his ruling, Chatigny said that "the CIAC policy has become moot" due to the graduation of two transgender athletes, "whose participation in girls’ track provided the impetus for this action. There is no indication that Smith and Nicoletti will encounter competition by a transgender student in a CIAC-sponsored event next season. Defendants’ counsel have represented that they know of no transgender student who will be participating in girls’ track at that time."

The judge said it was possible that another transgender student could attempt to compete. "Even then, however, a legally cognizable injury to these plaintiffs would depend on a transgender student running in the same events and achieving substantially similar times," he wrote. He noted that if that did occur, the cisgender athletes could seek another injunction. 

The plaintiff athletes are represented by lawyers from the group Alliance Defending Freedom. In a statement from ADF, Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said “Unfortunately, this court has chosen to ignore our clients’ demoralizing experiences of losing to male runners. But these committed female athletes—and young women across the country—deserve better. Today, the conversation centers on Connecticut’s high school track and field program, but there’s something bigger at stake here: Girls and women deserve opportunities that are truly equal—without being sidelined or dominated by males choosing to join their sport.” 

The attorneys said they intend to appeal the decision.