The Department of Justice has filed a statement of interest in Soule v. Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, a case challenging the state’s longstanding policy ensuring equal inclusion of transgender girls in K-12 sports. The statement from Attorney General William Barr sides with anti-transgender activist groups, including the Alliance Defending Freedom which brought the case, in arguing that the protections of Title IX do not extend to transgender girls.

Jennifer Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), issued the following statement in response: 

For nearly 50 years, Title IX has served as a bedrock for establishing fair and equal educational opportunities for all students. With its recent filing in Soule v. CT Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the Department of Justice erodes the significance of this landmark civil rights law by arguing that transgender girls do not enjoy its protections.

Participation in sports is a critical component of healthy physical and social development, and for transgender students it can be lifesaving. Title IX is designed to ensure equal opportunities for girls – meaning all girls. The Department of Justice’s position distorts the text and the history of federal law.

The current administration has been attacking vulnerable transgender youth since President Trump first took office, and it’s no surprise that they are doing so again. What is surprising is the decision to prioritize this attack during a national public health emergency, when young people across the country are already struggling to cope with school shutdowns as well as cancellations of recreational activities, sports seasons, after-school jobs, graduation ceremonies, and more. During this moment of tremendous stress and anxiety, young people across the country, as well as school communities, are looking for support and guidance from our government, not polarizing and legally unfounded attacks on vulnerable kids and their families.