WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The U.S. Department of Education will stop giving federal grants to Connecticut school districts unless they stop allowing transgender females to participate in high school sporting events.
- The argument is the result of a complaint filed by cisgender female runners who protested against competing against two transgender girls with unfair physical advantages.
- The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s policy on transgender athletes states that all students be equally treated as the gender with which they identify.
The U.S. Department of Education will refrain from granting federal funding to Connecticut school districts unless they change a state policy allowing transgender girls to compete in high school sports.
The debate over transgender participation in Connecticut high school sports came as a response to a federal lawsuit filed in February by several cisgender female track runners who had to compete against two transgender female track athletes denying them of championships and possible college scholarships.
School districts such as New Haven and the Capitol Region Education Council were asked at the start of September to sign a document to receive grants from the Federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grants provided they do not join in any interscholastic sporting events unless the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference revises its transgender athlete’s policy.
The policy, according to the athletic conference, is designed to meet the state law that maintains that all students be treated as the gender with which they identify.
However, under Title IX of the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Education Department which promises equal educational rights, the policy opposes the civil rights of girls who are not transgender.
The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker as well as education council superintendent Timothy Sullivan Jr. said they do not intend to sign the document despite the possibility of the city losing the last two years of funding for its five-year magnet school program.
“It is unconscionable that the federal government would threaten to take away funds that support Hartford area children during a pandemic, and we will fight to keep the money in our community,” Elicker said.
Nevertheless, Sullivan added that no amount of money will stop them from accepting all children for who they are and providing equitable opportunities to programs and
Although Connecticut Attorney General William Tong did not say how the state will respond, he said he is working with the school districts to secure their magnet school funding, which is worth around $3 million a year to New Haven and the education council.
“Neither federal law nor Connecticut law tolerates discrimination against transgender students. Transgender girls are girls, and the Office of the Attorney General will continue to protect every woman and girl in this state against discrimination,” he said.