Three high school female athletes — Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, and Chelsea Mitchell — filed a federal lawsuit in February against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for permitting male high school students, who identify as female, to compete against them in sports.
The girls argued, correctly, that allowing boys to compete with them in girls’ sports would disadvantage females in competitions, scholarships, and recruitment for college sports. Since Title IX of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 prohibits sex-based discrimination, the girls alleged that the state’s transgender policy unfairly displaced female athletes.
Now a district court judge has made it abundantly clear he has a different idea of “sex.” In one of the most disturbing attacks on free speech we have seen, Connecticut District Judge Robert Chatigny prematurely decided the merits of the case and predicted its outcome, based on the preferred and inaccurate language of transgender advocates.
In an April 16 conference call on the issue, Chatigny lectured Alliance Defending Freedom lawyers on referring to male students competing in girls’ sports as “males,” saying, “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.”
Of course, as Helen Joyce, executive editor for The Economist’s events business, perfectly articulated, “A judge tells lawyers that they are not allowed to refer to trans girls — males who identify as girls — as ‘male’, but rather as ‘transgender females’. If they comply they’ve lost their argument before they make it — the ENTIRE ARGUMENT is that males don’t belong in female sport.”
Obviously, if the judge believes biological males are “female” based exclusively on their gender identity, how could he objectively view biological female concerns about their participation in girls’ sports? Ironically, under this standard, the judge is recognizing a difference between females and transgender females. Despite this, Chatigny ordered the use of his preferred language, warning, “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.”
Alliance Defending Freedom has requested the judge recuse himself from the case due to the explicit partiality of his order and position. A much larger issue is at hand, however, in that the judge felt perfectly justified in issuing the order in the first place, believing it to be in the best interest of “civility” and necessary to prevent “bullying” of others.
“I don’t want to bully you,” Chatigny said, “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.”
The judge clearly views the position — that there is an objective physical difference between males and females — of the teenage girls, Alliance Defending Freedom, and most likely the majority of regular Americans as offensive, anti-science, and factually incorrect.
The left is counting on this language enforcement to impose new social ideas that will override the need for convincing debate. By denying the opposition the ability to describe their positions without being publicly shamed, the left wins before the right can even articulate its argument. LGBT activists simply declare that their preferred reality is true, supported by science, and in the best interest of a polite and civil society. They expect the rest of us to comply without question.
Those of us advocating for women to be protected in sports and private sex-reserved areas are being bullied into adopting the transgender argument automatically by the way we are permitted to discuss it. Without continued pushback against these efforts, conservatives and many regular Americans may find themselves losing the fight before they are even allowed to begin advocating for their side.