CA AG Rob Bonta Files Brief Supporting Eligibility of Transgender Students in School Sports

Attorney General Rob Bonta

By Carson Eschen and Sonam Hundal

OAKLAND, CA – California Attorney General Rob Bonta Friday filed an amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief in the ongoing Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools case, supporting the eligibility of transgender students for school sports.

In the Connecticut Association of Schools, transgender athletes are allowed to participate in gender-segregated sports that match with their gender identity.

The plaintiffs in the case allege that this policy discriminates against cisgender females and violates Title IX, materially diminishing their opportunities to compete and win in athletics.

The plaintiffs seek an injunction against further enforcement of the policy, as well as a retroactive “correction” of athletic records.

Soule was dismissed in district court back in April, on the grounds that the transgender athletes in question had already graduated, but it is now being heard in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bonta’s brief argues that transgender youth are already at a disadvantage as they face serious harm when it comes to their health and academic lives.

By allowing transgender students to play on sports teams that align with their gender identities, these students are granted great benefits – benefits that are later implemented into general society as well, not just in school, said Bonta.

AG Bonta states, “All of our student athletes deserve a chance to be themselves and participate in the full school experience,” adding that this case is a threat to transgender students because “it’s part of a nationwide attack on the rights of our LGBTQ+ communities.”

Title IX does not explicitly state that transgender students must play on sports teams of their birth-assigned gender. Therefore, Bonta claims, it is within their rights to play on teams of the gender that they choose to identify as.

Despite what the plaintiffs in the case claim about discrimination in regards to cisgender females, Bonta argues that Title IX is meant to ensure equality for student athletes of all gender identities.

Bonta’s brief joins those of 19 other attorneys general supporting transgender athletes.

About The Author

Carson Eschen is a fourth year Political Science and Philosophy double major at UC Santa Barbara. He plans on becoming a lawyer.

Related posts

39 Comments

  1. Keith Olson

    By allowing transgender students to play on sports teams that align with their gender identities, these students are granted great benefits

    They certainly are, especially when boys who identify as girls are allowed to dominate because of stronger physical attributes due to their birth-assigned gender.

    This is a losing position for Democrats to take.

      1. Keith Olson

        How about the human rights of the female athlete who trained all of her life to compete in college or the Olympics just to get displaced by a male?

        You okay with that David?

        1. David Greenwald

          So the issue is not whether it is a winning or losing issue for democrats. The issue is about weighing a variety of very difficult issues. I agree. Perhaps that’s a good discussion to have.

          So let’s discuss the issues – intelligently. In order for a trans athlete to compete on a women’s team, they must have had at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment. By definition that means they are not competing against a male. Perhaps then we should discuss the science here first and then we can decide how to weigh in on certain issues.

        2. Keith Olson

          In order for a trans athlete to compete on a women’s team, they must have had at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment. By definition that means they are not competing against a male. Perhaps then we should discuss the science here first and then we can decide how to weigh in on certain issues.

          Science would logically be that if one is born a male then they’re still a male when competing against females.

           

        3. Ron Oertel

          they must have had at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment. By definition that means they are not competing against a male.

          Is that the official definition of a female?

          Or a male?

          If I (or any other male) take testosterone suppression treatment for one year, then I’m female?

          I didn’t realize it worked that way.

          And at this point, I’m not entirely sure what the definitions are.

          1. David Greenwald

            “And at this point, I’m not entirely sure what the definitions are.”

            Perhaps you could do research and learn? No, that would be too logical. Talk first, research later.

          1. David Greenwald

            Why would you not go to the original study?

            https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/55/11/577.full?ijkey=yjlCzZVZFRDZzHz&keytype=ref

            That’s important because the article you cited didn’t show this key finding: After two years, “they were fairly equivalent to the cisgender women.”

            The study itself shows that performance advantage decreases over time and the implications of that study suggest it might be longer than the year that is currently recommended.

            Part of the problem is not the recommendations, but rather that there is a huge discrepancy in requirements by state.

            As of April, 10 states allow let transgender girls compete in high school sports after undergoing some treatment. Twelve states prohibit them entirely, including four that passed new laws and executive orders this year. Nine states have no policies at all. And 19 states, as well as the District of Columbia, let them compete regardless of testosterone level.

            The research you cited simply suggests that one year is not sufficient – so if that’s the case, there is a simple fix. But you wouldn’t know that from the article you cited.

        4. Richard_McCann

          David

          From the study:

          SummaryThe 15–31% athletic advantage that transwomen displayed over their female counterparts prior to starting gender affirming hormones declined with feminising therapy. However, transwomen still had a 9% faster mean run speed after the 1 year period of testosterone suppression that is recommended by World Athletics for inclusion in women’s events.

          My God, I would have have loved a 9% advantage over my competitors in college! I would have set a world record in the 5,000m run by 10 seconds, beating Henry Rono. Instead I was a minute slower than him. This advantage is huge.

          And the Eastern European women who took steroids morning, noon and night were still about 10% slower than the best men of the day, illustrating that hormones can’t make up the whole difference at the elite level.

          I don’t think that non-athletes really understand how small the difference is between the very top and the next level of athletes. (I set a school record at 10,000m despite being that much slower than Rono.) These advantages are significant and not to be blithely dismissed.

          1. David Greenwald

            You didn’t drill down and see that after two years there is no advantage. Clearly, the one year timeline is not sufficient, according to at least that study, my understanding is that the one year time was based on a 2015 study that showed more equal outcomes after a year. You’re making the same mistake as Keith, not reading the whole study and focusing only on the abstract (better than Keith, but still not sufficient).

        5. Keith Olson

          You didn’t drill down and see that after two years there is no advantage.

          It appears you’re wrong about this David.  Experts disagree.

          The research was carried out by Dr. Timothy Roberts, a pediatrician and associate professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and his colleagues. They found that trans women who underwent hormone therapy for one year continued to outperform non-transgender women, also known as cisgender women, though the gap largely closed after two years. But even then, trans women still ran 12% faster. 
          Without hormone therapy — yes. But even with hormone therapy, current research suggests trans women still maintain an edge in strength.
          “Pretty much any way you slice it, trans women are going to have strength advantages even after hormone therapy. I just don’t see that as anything else but factual,” said Joanna Harper, a medical physicist at Britain’s Loughborough University.
          For Tommy Lundberg, whose research at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute focuses on skeletal muscle strength of trans people receiving hormone therapy, the advantages for trans women in strength are to the point where fairness cannot be ensured in most sports.
          “The big problem right now is that the [hormone] therapy itself doesn’t really remove the advantage to an extent that you can claim that fairness has been achieved,” Lundberg told DW. “And actually, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) states that the overriding objective is, and remains, the guarantee of fair competition. That’s what they say in their guidelines. So that’s the problem right now: They don’t go hand-in-hand.”
          In another paper Lundberg co-authored that looked at untrained trans women, Lundberg and his colleague found that “muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed.”
          https://www.dw.com/en/fact-check-do-trans-athletes-have-an-advantage-in-elite-sport/a-58583988

          1. David Greenwald

            This is the same study you cited yesterday – posted the same link I did at 8:50! You’re not even paying attention to what is being posted! If you read at the end of the study you see that it equalizes after two years not one year. After two years, “they were fairly equivalent to the cisgender women.”

          2. David Greenwald

            Both you and Richard are not reading the full article, only the abstract. The actual conclusion of the study is that one year is not sufficient, two years is.

            “For the Olympic level, the elite level, I’d say probably two years is more realistic than one year,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Timothy Roberts, a pediatrician and the director of the adolescent medicine training program at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. “At one year, the trans women on average still have an advantage over the cis women,” he said, referring to cisgender, or nontransgender, women.

        6. Keith Olson

          Not according to what I bolded from the experts.  Even at two years the trans athletes still have an advantage.

          It’s okay to admit you’re wrong, really.

        7. Keith Olson

          Once again:

          They found that trans women who underwent hormone therapy for one year continued to outperform non-transgender women, also known as cisgender women, though the gap largely closed after two years. But even then, trans women still ran 12% faster. 

          1. David Greenwald

            I just quoted directly from the author of the study that you cited. When I read the article 12 percent was after one year, not two.

            The 12 percent figure makes no sense.

            From the abstract: “However, transwomen still had a 9% faster mean run speed after the 1 year period of testosterone suppression that is recommended by World Athletics for inclusion in women’s events.”

            Why is it nine percent after one year and 12 percent after two?

          1. David Greenwald

            You’re not really answering my question here. I asked why the difference would go from 9 percent after year one to 12 percent in year two. And now that I look at the data – I see what is going on. If you look at push-ups and sit-ups you see performance goes down and by the time you get to two years it is equality. In the 1.5 mile run, for some strange reason that’s not happening. Performance goes down for transwomen up to 1-2 years. It goes uniformly up for transmen (women transitioning to men). But for some reason from year one to year two, in the run and in the run only performance actually improves. Which to me is an anomalous finding and suggests the need for more research. I’m done because you are going to just argue your points without trying to make sense of the data. Maybe Richard will engage a little since he understands data better.

            Here is the charts:

  2. Ron Oertel

    Perhaps you could do research and learn? No, that would be too logical. Talk first, research later.

    You’re the one who put forth a definition, in your comment.  For that matter, you didn’t really define what you’re defining.

    If sports are going to be divided into “female” and “male” categories, shouldn’t those terms be defined?

    By the way, how large of a problem is this, in terms of transgendered people competing on sports teams at a level that even matters?  What, maybe 100 people across the entire country?

    And by transgendered, I’m referring to people who have actually gone through some kind of medical intervention to change the sex characteristics that they were born with. Though I would think that there is universal acknowledgement that not all such characteristics can be changed. That’s called reality.

    There – I’ve defined that term, at least.

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      And by transgendered, I’m referring to people who have actually gone through some kind of medical intervention to change the sex characteristics that they were born with. Though I would think that there is universal acknowledgement that not all such characteristics can be changed. That’s called reality.

      There – I’ve defined that term, at least.

      A narrow definition… here appears the current consensus of the definition… but words/terms morph… more and more frequently…

      Transgender – Wikipedi

      Perhaps terms should be audited… before use…

      1. David Greenwald

        Not only is the definition narrow, you can be a trans person who has not transitioned yet.

        Better definition from APA: “Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.”

    2. David Greenwald

      I didn’t offer a definition, I presented the policy

      BTW, transgender is an adjective, not a verb, therefor transgendered is grammatically incorrect in addition to being considered offensive by some.

      1. Ron Oertel

        BTW, transgender is an adjective, not a verb, therefor transgendered is grammatically incorrect in addition to being considered offensive by some.

        I apparently have much to learn.  (In all seriousness, I wasn’t even aware that the term was considered offensive by anyone.)

        I’m looking at the definition of “male” at the moment, and it’s described as either a noun or adjective depending upon usage.

        I’m again reminded of the cartoon with Bugs, Daffy, and Elmer in which “pronoun trouble” became a repetitive problem for Daffy – but had nothing to do with gender.

  3. Don Shor

    General scientific consensus is that gender and sexuality each exist on a spectrum. The majority of people are on well-defined ends of those spectra, but many are not. Gender is a personal identity and a social construct. Intersex people exist with many genetic and physiological variances from the binary model.

    Most of us don’t make a decision as to which gender we will express. For some people that decision is fraught with unfortunate consequences, including discrimination and overt hostility. Presently conservatives have decided to use this as a wedge issue, attacking the rights of transgender athletes for political gain.

    Transgender youth have every right to participate fully in sports. It is in their best interests physically and psychologically to be able to do so. The sports establishments need to change to accommodate these athletes.

    1. David Greenwald

      “General scientific consensus is that gender and sexuality each exist on a spectrum. The majority of people are on well-defined ends of those spectra, but many are not.”

      This is a key point. There is an assumption that simply having male genitalia defines gender – but for a small but real percentage of people, it doesn’t. They feel like a person trapped in the wrong body. Understanding what gender fluidity is and how it works makes it better to understand. Most trans youth are not going to be elite level athletes, for the few that may be, we have to adapt rules to the science. Notice that Keith never responded to my corrections to his post on what the research actually showed.

    2. Alan Miller

      Gender is a personal identity and a social construct.

      Are the chromosome pairs XX and XY, or even the rare XYY, a social construct?

      Not to say the initial definition is incorrect.  Rather it depends on how one defines gender.  Simply defining it with the purpose of dog whistling ones political stripes does not change the fact that it can be multiply defined – similar to how light is both a particle and a wave, or one or the other, depending on what one is looking for and how it is being measured.   A doctor does not treat a transgender person only as the sex to which they identify.  If not patently obvious, this was told to me by a friend who is a doctor, and is transgender.

    3. Richard_McCann

      It is in their best interests physically and psychologically to be able to do so.

      But it is not in the interest of the genetic females, who are 90% of population, who compete against them. We need to focus on what’s best for the majority and the highly adverse effect this will have on them.

  4. Richard_McCann

    I’m going to agree with Keith O here. I have followed this closely for a decade with emergence of the case of Caster Semenya, who has been a multi time world 800 m “women’s” champion. In 2019, the three 800m medalists were all ambiguous genetically and clearly had a physical advantage over the XX females in the field.

    There’s a difference in being biologically female and being culturally a woman. “Women’s” sports were established to create a genetically female division to ensure that the vast majority of culturally women would have an opportunity for competitive sports. 90% of “women” are genetically XX females. We need to focus on the needs of the majority, which is to protect the rights of genetic females to have clear competitive opportunities.

    Further, the advantages are not just from testosterone. There are also skeletal advantages that never disappear that enhance gait and throwing.

    For every other activity, individuals should be able to choose their cultural gender choice, but for athletic competition, it must remain genetic sexual designation (and even ambiguous females with XXY etc. mutations should be excluded.)

    I speak of this as a former elite athlete and coach, and it requires an athletic background to understand this important distinction. If one hasn’t competed seriously as an athlete, they cannot understand the full breadth of these issues.

  5. Edgar Wai

    Weight class is a non gender specific division.

    Weight class makes sense in competitions about althetic techniques and skills.

    In case of running, what exactly is the competition about? If you can define what it is about, then you could define what the division classes should be.

    Is it about their running techniques? Is it about their dedication to training and muscle building specifically for running? Is it about promoting and sharing training routines and skills?

    What is the competition trying to promote among the altheletes?

  6. Edgar Wai

    A good competition is one where a loser can learn and adopt practices from the winner and become better themselves.

    Within this principle, equal opportunity in the competition does not refer to “anyone may enter the competition” but “the competition is about something that everyone has opportunity to get better at if they choose to.”

  7. Dave Hart

    The entire issue is fundamentally not about playing sports, but about the inequality of commodifying athletic contests. Who can claw their way to the “top” of the (particular) sport and garner the largest salary? Those who don’t “make it” are losers. We are far from ready to see men and women compete on the same field. After all, who would pay to watch a major league xBall team with mixed gender roster?  We aren’t that evolved yet and we’ve all been trained to value the surviving gladiator in the arena as the supreme business model for sports.  After all, that model yields the greatest profit and that really is all that matters in professionalized sports.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for