Two transgender high school students took home first and second places in the 100-meter dash at a girls’ state track meet in Connecticut Monday.
One of them, Bulkeley sophomore Terry Miller, broke records in both the 100 and 200-meter events, the latter spanning back to 1997.
— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) June 4, 2018
Just last year during the winter indoor season, Miller had raced as a boy.
The runner-up 100 meter transgender runner, Andraya Yearwood from Cromwell, also won the Class M sprint titles last year, despite never undergoing hormonal treatment.
The victories have prompted a look at how gender affects sports in the state, where gender identity is recognized.
The Connecticut Post spoke to one of the losing female students, but she didn’t seem too upset she lost to biological males.
“To be honest, I think it’s great they get a chance to compete and as long as they’re happy, I guess, there’s not that much I can do,” said RHAM High School student Bridget Lalonde, who finished third place in the 100 meter race. “The rules are the rules. The only competition is the clock. You can only run as fast as you can.”
Lalonde also came in second against Miller in the 200 meter race.
— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) June 4, 2018
Miller attempted a sweep by winning the 400 meter race as well, but faltered and placed fourth.
The winner of the 400, Newton High School’s Carly Swierbut, told The Post she didn’t have a problem racing against transgender students.
“Quite honestly, I just focused on me,” Swierbut said. “I know how to run this race. I just focused on the lane in front of me and didn’t worry about anybody else.”
She added, “If you’re good enough to run, you’re good enough to run. If somebody wants to win, they’re going to work their tail off to win. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, everybody should have the chance.”
Parents and coaches on the other hand are asking why the state’s athletic committee hasn’t worked to level the playing field.
Hillhouse High School coach Gary Moore said last week he didn’t think the rules were “fair to the girls,” and this week he questioned why other coaches weren’t raising the issue.
From The Post:
“I’ve been stopped by at least five coaches (Monday), all of them saying they really liked what I said in the paper. How come other coaches aren’t talking? This is a big issue a lot of coaches have, that we’ve got to do something, but how come you’re not saying anything? I’ve said what I needed to say. I’m getting a little annoyed with the coaches that we haven’t been able to get together and do what’s best for everybody.”
The parent of one of the girls who placed sixth in the 100 also called on the state to change their rules.
“Sports are set up for fairness. Biologically male and female are different,” said Bianca Stanescu.
“The great majority is being sacrificed for the minority.”
The Post also notes, “The team standings were altered, too. Southington won the team title with 35 points, three ahead of Bloomfield. Without the Miller and Yearwood, Bloomfield would have had 34. You spread around Miller’s 25 points and Yearwood’s points and obviously a number of other team standings were altered.”
Despite leagues such as the NCAA having rules requiring transgender players undergo a year’s worth of hormone treatments, the Connecticut Intersscholastic Athletic Conference hasn’t budged claiming to do so would be discrimination.
“A lot of people have asked, can you run a separate race, can you put an asterisk next to their name, do something that shows there is a standard that is different from that?” CIAC executive director Karissa Niehoff told The Post. “When you get into that playing out, you have got civil rights issues.”
“Then within the same gender, you are taking one population of the gender and you’re separating them and creating another class. That’s what Title IX speaks to. That’s what Office of Civil Rights guidelines speak to. You cannot discriminate based on gender. And in our case in Connecticut, gender is gender identity.”
Of the girls who may feel angry, she added, “We do feel for them.”
“Fully agree it doesn’t feel good. The optic isn’t good. But we really do have to look at the bigger issues that speak to civil rights and the fact this is high school sports.”
For now, it doesn’t look like anything will be done, but The Post did indicate “there was talk among opponents of starting collective legal action.”