I’ve been training to be a championship sprinter since I was eight years old. With the help of my parents, my coaches, and my teammates, I did it: By sophomore year of high school, in 2018, I was one of the top five female high school sprinters in Connecticut.
But then, one day, I wasn’t.
At the state championships that year, two people passed me—passed all of us girls. Literally. They finished first and second in our races, dominating the field.
Were they more motivated? Did they train harder? I don’t think so.
But they did have an edge—a big one we couldn’t match. They were biological boys who said they were transgender girls.
Do you think that’s fair—males competing against females?
Before you make up your mind, let me tell you a bit about what it took for me to become a top female sprinter. It meant training with my team every day after school for at least two hours, working to shave fractions of a second off of my time in the 100- and 200-meter dash.
It meant not hanging out after school or going out with friends on the weekends. It meant getting up early every Saturday morning, and competing all day at a meet. It meant not indulging in any of the things that might cost me my dream.
And here’s the thing about the two biological males that took the top two girls’ medals in the State of Connecticut: Their times were not even good enough to qualify them to compete in the state championships on the boys’ team.
Let me say that again, in case you missed it: Their times were not good enough to qualify them for the boys’ state championships.
But two years in a row, they won first and second place competing against the girls. All in all, these two biological males won 15 women’s state championship titles.
Some in the media have accused me of being a sore loser. They tell me to run harder. But the biological changes that males go through during puberty are so significant, they gain an insurmountable advantage in strength and speed. That’s why boys always competed against boys and girls against girls.
U.S. runner Allyson Felix is an inspiration to me. She’s the fastest female sprinter in the world. Her lifetime best for the 400 meters is 49.26 seconds. But based on 2018 data, nearly three hundred high school boys in the U.S. alone could beat that record.
What we are talking about, then, is not just boys taking women’s trophies—though they are. And we aren’t talking about biological boys taking women’s athletic scholarships—though they’ll do that, too. When biological boys are allowed to compete against girls in sports like track, where the differences in performance are so great, we are talking about girls getting shut out—never getting the chance to win, or even compete at all.
When two biological boys took the first- and second-place spots against me in the 2019 indoor state championship, I lost the opportunity to participate at the New England championships. I lost the chance to be scouted by top coaches, possibly even to win scholarships.
Right now, biological boys are being allowed to set records on the girls’ team—deleting girls’ records, erasing the achievements of actual girls, and setting a standard probably no girl can meet no matter how much she trains or how hard she tries.
The reason that we have girls’ sports in the first place is to give female athletes with talent, hard work, and dedication an equal opportunity to shine and be recognized. But girls will never have that opportunity if they are forced to compete with biological boys in sports like track and field, softball, volleyball, or basketball.
Women fought too hard, for too long, so girls like me can have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.
Maybe worst of all: When girls try to object—when we point out the truth that biological differences in strength and speed between boys and girls are massive and real—we’re called bigots. Administrators, teachers, coaches, and other students tell us to just keep quiet and take it. We’re told a girl’s place is to be seen and not heard.
Well, we won’t be silenced. We are fighting back. With two other top female runners in Connecticut, I’ve filed a federal lawsuit under Title IX to protect the rights of women and girls to a fair competition on a level playing field.
Please don’t turn your backs on us, America. This isn’t about gender identity.
It’s about fair play.
I’m Selina Soule for Prager University.