Connecticut: Judge Rules Transgender Sprinters Competing Against Girls Cannot Be Called “Males” In Court . . . Or Else
Judge Chatigny: “we’ll need to do something …. I don’t want to bully you, but at the same time, I don’t want you to be bullying anybody else”
In February 2019, two Connecticut high school transgender sprinters claimed the two top spots in the Girls Indoor Track Championship for the second year in a row.
Three of the biological girls who competed in the 2019 track championship filed a federal discrimination complaint against a statewide policy on transgender athletes. Although she’s the fastest biological female sprinter, one of the girls “nonetheless lost four state championships to male competitors who identified as female.”
This complaint centered on an alleged violation of Title IX in that the biological girls are deprived of “opportunities for participation, recruitment, and scholarships.”
The filing against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) has made it into the courts, and District Court Judge Robert Chatigny ruled that the attorneys for the biological girls cannot refer to the transgender sprinters as males and must instead say “transgender females.”
The attorneys for the girl athletes are requesting that the judge recuse himself over this stipulation because, in part, it appears he has “destroyed the appearance of impartiality in this proceeding.”
Three female high school track athletes are suing the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) over unfair rules that allow biological males who identify as female to compete in women’s sports. Last month, a district court judge barred the girls’ lawyers from referring to the biological males as “males,” insisting that the lawyers call them “transgender females.” He threatened to retaliate if they refuse to do so. This effective gag order may undermine their case, and it certainly shows bias against their underlying argument. Therefore, the lawyers moved for the judge to recuse himself.
“The Court has now reprimanded Plaintiffs’ counsel and prohibited Plaintiffs from referring to those individuals as ‘male athletes’ because—in the Court’s view— alluding to an individual of the male sex as male is contrary to science, ‘bullying,’ and violates ‘human decency’ if that individual claims a female gender identity,” attorneys Roger Brooks, Kristen Waggoner, and Howard M. Wood III wrote in a motion filed Friday and provided to PJ Media. “A disinterested observer would reasonably believe that the Court’s order and comments have destroyed the appearance of impartiality in this proceeding. That requires recusal.”
They asked District Court Judge Robert Chatigny to recuse himself from the case, arguing that his order “and comments during the hearing would leave an impartial observer gravely concerned that the Court has prejudged the matter, rejected core aspects of Plaintiffs’ case before hearing the evidence and legal arguments, and assumed the role of advocate for the defendants, all to the detriment of Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti.”
PJMedia has a transcript of the court proceedings; here’s what Judge Chatigny stated in court:
“Let me raise a point that undoubtedly will cause some consternation for you, Mr. Brooks, and your colleagues, but I exercise my prerogative as the presiding judge in this instance and I hope you will forgive me.
I don’t think we should be referring to the proposed intervenors as ‘male athletes.’ I understand that you prefer to use those words, but they’re very provocative, and I think needlessly so. I don’t think that you surrender any legitimate interest or position if you refer to them as transgender females. That is what the case is about. This isn’t a case involving males who have decided that they want to run in girls’ events. This is a case about girls who say that transgender girls should not be allowed to run in girls’ events.
So going forward, we will not refer to the proposed intervenors as ‘males’; understood?”
Brooks, who is lead on the biological girls’ legal team, responded as follows:
“The entire focus of the case has to do with the fact that male bodies have a physiological advantage over female bodies that gives them an unfair advantage,” he replied. “The entire focus of the case is the fact that the CIAC policy allows individuals who are physiologically, genetically male to compete in girls’ athletics.”
“But if I use the term ‘females’ to describe those individuals — and we’ve said in our opening brief, we’re happy to use their preferred names, because names are not the point to the case. Gender identity is not the point of this case. The point of this case is physiology of bodies driven by chromosomes and the documented athletic advantage that comes from a male body, male hormones, and male puberty in particular,” Brooks explained. He insisted that referring to the males as “transgender females” would do his clients a disservice by “not accurately represented their position in this case” and it would be “not accurate” because they lack female physiology.
Chatigny, however, dismissed these points out of hand.
From the transcript:
I’m not asking you to refer to these individuals as “females.” I know that you don’t want to do so. What I’m saying is you must refer to them as “transgender females” rather than as “males.” Again, that’s the more accurate terminology, and I think that it fully protects your client’s legitimate interests. Referring to these individuals as “transgender females” is consistent with science, common practice and perhaps human decency.
To refer to them as “males,” period, is not accurate, certainly not as accurate, and I think it’s needlessly provocative; and, for me, civility is a very important value, especially in litigation.
So if you feel strongly that you and your clients have a right to refer to these individuals as “males” and that you therefore do not want to comply with my order, then that’s unfortunate. But I’ll give you some time to think about it and you can let me know if it’s a problem. If it is, gosh, maybe we’ll need to do something. I don’t want to bully you, but at the same time, I don’t want you to be bullying anybody else.
Maybe you might need to take an application to the Court of Appeals. I don’t know. But I certainly don’t want to put civility at risk in this case. Quite the opposite. My goals for this case include, very importantly, the goal of maintaining civil discourse, respectful, humane, intelligent, civil discourse in the course of the case. Nothing more, nothing less.
You really have to read the whole PJMedia post, but here are the concluding two paragraphs:
However, Chatigny’s insistence that the use of the term “male” is inaccurate, “needlessly provocative,” “bullying,” and perhaps in violation of “human decency” is beyond the pale. His repeated threat that it would be “unfortunate” if the girls’ lawyers disagreed and that “maybe we’ll need to do something” if they don’t shut up about the whole “male” thing is particularly terrifying.
This judge has dismissed the key argument in the case as offensive, attempted to silence the girls’ lawyers, and threatened them if they do not comply. Anyone who is rightly concerned about the unfairness of allowing boys to compete in women’s sports should be horrified — and even transgender advocates should be aghast at this miscarriage of impartial justice.
This case has caught the interest of the Department of Justice.
“It’s just really frustrating and heartbreaking, because we all train extremely hard to shave off just fractions of a second off of our time. And these athletes can do half the amount of work that we do, and it doesn’t matter,” Soule told the Wall Street Journal. “We have no chance of winning.”
The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in March expressing support for the girls’ position.
“In our pluralistic society we generally try to accommodate how individuals desire to live their lives up to the point where those desires impinge on the other people’s rights,” said Attorney General William Barr said in a statement at the time. “Allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports deprives women of the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in sports and is fundamentally unfair to female athletes.”
While the regressive left wails about “misgendering trans kids,” serious people are asking serious questions about the efficacy of policies that require biological females to compete against biological males in high school athletic competitions designated explicitly for girls.
These aren’t “here’s your pretty pretty ribbon to hang on your fridge” events. These are serious athletic competitions that affect college admissions, scholarships, and future careers in sports, up to and including the Olympics.
What on earth would inspire any little girl to pursue an interest in athletics if she knows she has, in the words of one complainant, “no chance of winning” against transgender “females”?DONATE
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