Two important updates in the transgender fight to redefine reality

There’s two important new updates in the transgender war to redefine reality.

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Those of you who follow this blog will know that three female high school track athletes have sued to block biological males from competing against biological females in track meets. According to National Review, that case has hit an interesting roadblock: attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the girls, have called for the presiding judge to recuse himself after he forbade the lawyers from referring to the biologically male athletes competing in female track meets as “males”:

The ADF filed suit in February against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) on behalf of three girls — Selina Soule, Alana Smith, and Chelsea Mitchell. The suit challenges the CIAC policy allowing students to compete in the division that accords with their gender identity on the grounds that it disadvantages women in violation of the Title IX prohibition against discrimination on the “basis of sex.”

During an April 16 conference call, District Judge Robert Chatigny chastised the ADF attorneys for referring to the male athletes seeking to compete in the women’s division as “males,” according to a transcript of the call obtained by National Review.

Chatigny:

What I’m saying is you must refer to them as “transgender females” rather than as “males.” Again, that’s the more accurate terminology, and I think that it fully protects your client’s legitimate interests. Referring to these individuals as “transgender females” is consistent with science, common practice and perhaps human decency. To refer to them as “males,” period, is not accurate, certainly not as accurate, and I think it’s needlessly provocative. I don’t think that you surrender any legitimate interest or position if you refer to them as transgender females. That is what the case is about. This isn’t a case involving males who have decided that they want to run in girls’ events. This is a case about girls who say that transgender girls should not be allowed to run in girls’ events. So going forward, we will not refer to the proposed intervenors as “males”; understood?

Roger Brooks, the lead attorney for ADF, responded by pointing out that the biology of transgender athletes seeking to compete in the women’s division is relevant to the case and, as such, his duty provide a vigorous defense of his clients’ interests required him to use the term “male.”

Brooks:

The entire focus of the case is the fact that the CIAC policy allows individuals who are physiologically, genetically male to compete in girls’ athletics. But if I use the term “females” to describe those individuals — and we’ve said in our opening brief, we’re happy to use their preferred names, because names are not the point to the case. Gender identity is not the point of this case. The point of this case is physiology of bodies driven by chromosomes and the documented athletic advantage that comes from a male body, male hormones, and male puberty in particular. So, Your Honor, I do have a concern that I am not adequately representing my client and I’m not accurately representing their position in this case as it has to be argued before Your Honor and all the way up if I refer to these individuals as “female,” because that’s simply, when we’re talking about physiology, that’s not accurate, at least in the belief of my clients.

Brooks further informed the judge that he was “not sure [he] could comply” with the prohibition against the use of “male,” and asked if he would be permitted to simply use “transgender” rather than “transgender females” when referring to the athletes – a request which the judge granted.

The Judge then stipulated that he didn’t want to “bully” the ADF attorneys but nevertheless felt that he had to draw a hard line with respect to the terminology used out of a concern for “human decency.”

Chatigny:

So if you feel strongly that you and your clients have a right to refer to these individuals as “males” and that you therefore do not want to comply with my order, then that’s unfortunate. But I’ll give you some time to think about it and you can let me know if it’s a problem. If it is, gosh, maybe we’ll need to do something. I don’t want to bully you, but at the same time, I don’t want you to be bullying anybody else. Maybe you might need to take an application to the Court of Appeals. I don’t know. But I certainly don’t want to put civility at risk in this case.

In the motion filed Saturday, the ADF attorneys argue that Chatigyny’s order is “legally unprecedented” and disrupts the appearance of impartiality.

“A disinterested observer would reasonably believe that the Court’s order
and comments have destroyed the appearance of impartiality in this proceeding. That requires recusal,” reads the motion, which was obtained by National Review. “To be sure, the public debate over gender identity and sports is a heated and emotional one. This only increases the urgency that court preserve their role as the singular place in society where all can be heard and present facts before an impartial tribunal.”

The case centers on the participation of two transgender sprinters, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, who have combined to win 15 girls indoor and outdoor championship events since 2017. The year prior to Miller and Yearwood’s participation, those titles were held by ten different girls. The three plaintiffs have competed directly against Miller and Yearwood and have lost to them in nearly every case.

“It’s just really frustrating and heartbreaking, because we all train extremely hard to shave off just fractions of a second off of our time. And these athletes can do half the amount of work that we do, and it doesn’t matter,” Soule told the Wall Street Journal. “We have no chance of winning.”

The ADF team resorted to the suit after initially filing a complaint with the Department of Education in June of last year.

Connecticut is one of 17 states that allows students to compete in a division of their choosing without restriction. In contrast, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the International Olympic Committee requires male-to-female transgender athletes to undergo testosterone suppressing hormonal therapy before competing against women.

A lot hinges on this case. And again, it will fall to judges to determine how our culture understand reality.

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Back in September of 2019, I covered the story of a transgender man—a biological woman—who gave birth to a child, but filed suit in order to be listed as the father rather than the mother on the official paperwork. According to The Guardian, there is an update to the story:

A transgender man who gave birth has lost his appeal court battle to be registered as a father in a case that wrestled with the legal definition of motherhood and transgender rights. The ruling against Freddy McConnell, a 34-year-old freelance journalist who works for the Guardian and who lived as a man for several years before suspending his hormone treatment and becoming pregnant, upholds an earlier high court verdict that motherhood is defined as being pregnant and giving birth regardless of whether the person who does so was considered a man or a woman in law.

A court of appeal panel headed by the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett, effectively came down in favour of the right of a child born to a transgender parent to know the biological reality of its birth, rather than the parent’s right to be recognised on the birth certificate in their legal gender.

McConnell said it was “distressing to be a trans person and have your most fundamental rights overlooked”. But he urged trans rights activists not to despair and said he would apply to the supreme court for permission to take the case to the highest level…McConnell had appealed against a high court ruling in September 2019 that even though he was considered a man by law and had a gender recognition certificate to prove it, he could not appear on his child’s birth certificate as father. He said this breached the Human Rights Act.

McConnell began medical transition with testosterone therapy in 2013 and in 2014, and underwent a double mastectomy. His passport and NHS records were changed to show he was male. But he retained his female reproductive system. He gave birth in 2018 after suspending his hormone treatment and allowing his menstrual cycle to restart. The process was captured in the documentary film Seahorse, a reference to the fish that reproduce through male pregnancies.

When he went to register the birth, the registrar said he could not say he was his boy’s father, sparking a two-year legal battle. Shortly before McConnell became pregnant in 2017 he received a gender reassignment certificate making clear he was now considered male. But on Wednesday, Burnett found that “although for most purposes a person must be regarded in law as being of their acquired gender after the certificate has been issued, where an exception applies, they are still to be treated as having their gender at birth”.

Laws passed by parliament had not “decoupled the concept of mother from gender”, Burnett said in a ruling that focused strongly on the Gender Recognition Act. He said any interference with McConnell’s rights to family life caused by birth registration documents describing him as mother when he lives as his child’s father, could be justified. Continuing to call McConnell and other transgender men “mother” on their children’s birth certificates would protect the rights of their children to know who gave birth to them and that person’s status, the appeal court found.

Predictably, trans groups are outraged. Just as in the case of the high school athletes, the trans movement not only wants to redefine reality for themselves, they are demanding that society recognize their redefinition as fact.

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