A group of three female runners sued state and local education officials after losing state titles to transgender athletes in 2018. Backers of the lawsuit contend that athletes who were born male have a natural and unfair advantage over competitors who were born female.
Supporters of the transgender athletes in the case argue that once hormone therapies take effect, the male genetic advantage fades away – although those effects aren’t immediate, and many teens don’t begin taking such drugs until after puberty.
“The gender identity doesn’t matter, it’s the testosterone levels,” Joanna Harper, a medical physicist who is also a transgender runner herself, told the Associated Press in 2019. “Trans girls should have the right to compete in sports. But cisgender girls should have the right to compete and succeed, too. How do you balance that? That’s the question.”
The Department of Justice became involved in the case under former President Donald Trump, with former Attorney General Bill Barr filing a statement of interest in March 2020.
“The government has reconsidered the matter and hereby notifies the Court that it withdraws its Statement of Interest,” the DOJ said, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
The Justice Department’s decision to back out of the case comes ahead of a Friday hearing on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Connecticut is one of 17 states that allow transgender high school athletes to take part in sports without regulation. Some states place restrictions on transgender competitors, and others handle cases on an individual basis.
A current bill in Utah that would remove that state from the list faces uncertainty after Republican Gov. Spencer Cox called for a “better” solution last week and asked the bill’s GOP sponsor to meet and discuss their differences.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.