‘It tells me that I’m not good enough’: Female HS track star recalls ‘devastating’ impact of losing to transgender athletes

‘It tells me that I’m not good enough’: Female HS track star recalls ‘devastating’ impact of losing to transgender athletes

May 25, 2021

A former female high school track star recently slammed the progressive push to allow transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports, noting that her personal experience of competing against biological males had a “devastating” effect on both her confidence and collegiate opportunities.

Chelsea Mitchell, once heralded the “fastest girl in Connecticut,” explained in an opinion piece published by USA Today why her and three other female athletes — who were forced to compete against transgender athletes for most of their high school careers — decided to sue the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference last year.

In the column, Mitchell recalled the thoughts that ran through her head prior to a race she competed in last February. Though she should have been feeling “confident” and “excited,” she remembered only thinking about how all her training and exercise “might not be enough, simply because there’s a transgender runner on the line with an enormous physical advantage.”

Amazingly, despite her obvious disadvantages, Mitchell would go on to win that race. But unfortunately that victory was an outlier for her due to the CIAC’s decision to define sex by gender identity, and not biology.

“I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to transgender runners. I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019 behind two transgender runners,” Mitchell recalled. “With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again.”

“That’s a devastating experience,” she added. “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.”

Later in the column, Mitchell pointed out that over and above the psychological toll that losing repeatedly to transgender athletes can have on women, CIAC’s and similar policies can inflict several other “tangible harms,” as well — including robbing them of the chance to compete for scholarships or race in front of scouts at high-profile meets.

“I’ll never know how my own college recruitment was impacted by losing those four state championship titles,” she explained. “When colleges looked at my record, they didn’t see the fastest girl in Connecticut. They saw a second- or third-place runner.”

Mitchell, along with Alanna Smith, Selina Soule, and Ashley Nicoletti, sued the CIAC in February 2020 for depriving them of fair competition by allowing transgender athletes to compete alongside women. Since 2017, when the organization changed its rules, two biological male athletes, Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, have dominated high school female track in the state.

The legal firm representing the female athletes in court, Alliance Defending Freedom, noted in a news release that Yearwood and Terry collectively “have taken 15 women’s state championship titles (titles held in 2016 by nine different Connecticut girls) and have taken more than 85 opportunities to participate in higher level competitions from female track athletes in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons alone.”

Nonetheless, a federal district court recently dismissed the female athletes’ lawsuit. In her USA Today column, Mitchell vowed to appeal.


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