After legal setback, teen girls fighting courts and woke editors

Thursday, May 27, 2021
Chris Woodward, Billy Davis (

Selina SouleThe battle to stop biological males from competing against female athletes is not over despite a legal setback, vows an attorney representing four female clients who sued their state athletic association.

Along with the legal fight, which is moving to a federal appeals court, the teen girls are also fighting a battle over language and Biology 101 after USA Today heavily edited an op-ed by one of the girls it had published days earlier.

In April, female athletes Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, Alanna Smith, and Ashley Nicoletti witnessed a federal district court dismiss their case on procedural grounds since the two transgender runners have since graduated.

Christiana Holcomb, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, says ADF filed a notice of appeal this week on behalf of the four female plaintiffs before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.


The four girls, led by Soule (pictured above), filed suit in 2017 against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for allowing two biological boys to compete against them in track meets, including in top-level state meets, where the stronger, faster males dominated their female competitors and won.

Mitchell, for example, was set to win the women’s 55-meter track competition in 2019 but finished third behind the two male athletes.  

 "The court dismissed the case as moot, essentially ignoring all of the harms that these girls have endured," Holcomb tells One News Now. "They're losing out on championship titles, missing out on opportunities to advance to the next level of competition and compete for college scholarships."

One News Now has reported that Soule was the first high schooler to step forward and sue CIAC despite facing predictable accusations of discrimination against transgenders and hostility from her own school. Despite that hostile environment, where transgender athletes are fawned over by the media and sympathetic school officials, the other three teen girls joined the lawsuit, too.

Biology is ‘hurtful language’

In a USA Today commentary published last week, Mitchell (pictured below) shared her personal story of the “fastest girl in Connecticut” who lost four women’s state championship titles and two regional awards to transgender females --- men --- who beat her.

“It’s happened to me over and over,” she writes. “Every time I walk up to the starting line, I try to tell myself that I can overcome the unfair odds — I can win, even though the race is stacked against me.”

Chelsea Mitchell (ADF lawsuit)Soule was similarly bumped from a state championship spot and a New England championship race by a male runner (pictured below), and Smith finished third in a regional championship because of the same male runner, Mitchell also points out.

The op-ed, which published May 22, is gaining even more attention this week after USA Today tinkered with it post-publication by removing the word “male” and replacing it with “transgender,” and issuing an apology for the original commentary.

“Editor's note: This column has been updated to reflect USA TODAY’s standards and style guidelines,” the column now reads. “We regret that hurtful language was used.”

Frustrated by the editing, ADF published Mitchell’s original commentary which can be read here.

A side-by-side comparison of both articles by One News Now showed USA Today editors not only swapped “transgender” for “male,” and dropped a reference to “male body," but the national publication also changed the phrase “every single girl on the track” to read “other girls on the track.”

Mitchell's original sentence that reads "males have a massive physical advantages" is missing from the updated op-ed, too.

Mitchell's original sentence reads: That’s because males have massive physical advantages. Their bodies are simply bigger and stronger on average than female bodies. It’s obvious to every single girl on the track.

The newer version published by USA Today reads: Their bodies are simply bigger and stronger on average. It’s obvious to other girls on the track. 

Transgender athlete Terry Miller“USA Today violated its principles to appease the mob,” Holcomb, after learning about the edits, complained in a Twitter post. “This blatant censorship violates the trust we place in media to be honest brokers of public debate.”

Despite the woke editing, the commentary still contains Mitchell’s vow to continue the legal fight.

“We’re taking our case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit,” she concludes, “where we are going to ask once again for the court to recognize our right to fair competition — a right that Title IX has promised to girls and women for 50 years. And we’re fighting not just for ourselves, but for all female athletes."


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