As a high school student, Selina Soule was thrust onto a national stage.
Why? Because she dared to speak the truth.
A Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy allows male athletes who identify as girls to compete on girls’ and women’s sports teams. During Selina’s four years in high school, that policy resulted in two biological males winning 15 women’s state championship titles in track and field—titles that were previously held by 9 different girls. Within just three years, girls across the state were denied over 85 chances to compete in elite athletic competitions.
Selina was one of those girls.
Clearly, this policy isn’t fair. Men and women are different—and those differences matter, particularly in athletes. A majority of Americans agree. 77 percent of likely voters from swing states oppose male athletes competing in women’s sports. 79 percent of Mississippi voters, in particular, support a state law prohibiting male athletes from competing in women’s sports. Indeed, even 74 percent of Californians support such a policy.
But no one was speaking up for Selina and the other female track athletes in Connecticut.
With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, she and three other high school girls filed a lawsuit against the state to help preserve a level playing field for female athletes.
Our Senior Vice President, Dr. Jameson Taylor, reached out to Selina and asked her to explain why she decided to take this stand.
How did you get involved in track and field?
I have been competing in track and field since my mom introduced me to it when I was a little girl. Track means everything to me. I would wake up every day and go to school, just waiting to get to the track, waiting to run, waiting to jump.
Connecticut allows boys who identify as girls to compete in girls’ sports. How did that impact your high school athletic experience?
During my four years of high school track and field in Connecticut, I was forced to compete against two male athletes who identified as girls. I would line up for my race and know the outcome before the gun even went off. Those two male athletes would dominate the field, and us girls were left competing for third place. No matter how hard we trained and how far we pushed ourselves, they beat us time and time again. It was frustrating, heartbreaking, and demoralizing.
I have lost countless opportunities over the past few years—opportunities to compete on world class tracks, to win titles, and to advance to the next level of competition. During my junior year, I was denied the chance to compete at the New England Regional Championship. I missed qualifying in the 55-meter dash by just two spots—two spots that were taken by biological males.
Why is it so important for girls and women to have separate sports teams?
Boys will always have a physical advantage over girls. That’s why we have women’s sports in the first place. Science and common sense show us that boys are, on average, stronger and faster than girls. So it’s fundamentally unfair to let male athletes come in and dominate girls’ sports.
Female athletes deserve the same opportunity as boys to excel and chase our dreams. But allowing male athletes to compete in girls’ sports shatters those dreams and takes away opportunities that so many of us have spent years working to obtain.
What do you hope to accomplish with this lawsuit?
This isn’t about self-expression; this is about our right—a woman’s right—to win.
I want to make sure that young girls don’t have to face the same pain that I felt throughout my four years of high school. I worry how many college recruiters, who only have a limited number of scholarships and slots on college track teams to award, will skip over the names of other female athletes and only look at the name at the top of those results—a name that belongs to a biological male athlete.
And if changes aren’t made soon, we are facing the complete eradication of women’s sports.
Fortunately, Mississippi lawmakers are taking a stand to protect girls and women like Selina. Senate Bill 2536, known as The Fairness Act, would ensure public schools and universities protect the integrity of female sports by designating teams based on biological sex. Sponsored by Sen. Angela HIll, this bill has passed the Senate and will soon come up for a vote in the Mississippi House. The bill must pass by March 10.