President Joe Biden’s administration has withdrawn the federal government’s support for a lawsuit that seeks to keep transgender girls and women from participating in school sports for females.
The Department of Justice withdrew a “statement of interest” that William Barr, attorney general under Donald Trump, had submitted in a case in Connecticut. The parents of three cisgender girls had filed suit last year against several school districts and a state regulatory body in an effort to bar trans girls from competition.
Under Barr and Trump, the DOJ weighed in on the side of the parents. But in a brief filing this week in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, department officials said, “The government has reconsidered the matter and hereby notifies the Court that it withdraws its Statement of Interest,” CBS News reports. Further, the government does not wish to become a party in the suit, the officials said.
The parents are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has taken up many anti-LGBTQ+ causes, and by private attorneys. The Associated Press sought comment from the attorneys, who declined.
Those who seek to keep trans girls and women from competing alongside cisgender females argue that trans females have an inherent and unfair advantage due to their physiology. Supporters of trans inclusion respond that this is not so and that many other factors, such as body size and access to training, can give an athlete an advantage.
The Biden administration’s support for trans equality has led some anti-trans politicians and activists to use the scare tactic of claiming the administration will destroy women’s sports and undermine Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which mandates gender equity in all aspects of education.
Advocates for trans rights responded positively to the DOJ’s move. It signals “a hint that the government, the Department of Education, may now have a different view of Title IX,” Dan Barrett, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, told the AP. The Department of Education, under Trump appointee Betsy DeVos, had threatened to withdraw federal funding from the districts that allow trans girls to compete.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong also praised the action. “Transgender girls are girls and every woman and girl deserves protection against discrimination. Period,” he said in a statement, according to the AP.