Metro Weekly

Judge in track athlete lawsuit asked to recuse himself for not allowing misgendering of trans athletes

Right-wing legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom says judge's order demonstrates his inability to be impartial

trans, athlete, judge, student

Photo: tableatny, via Wikimedia

Lawyers for a group of cisgender female student-athletes are demanding that the federal judge assigned to their case recuse himself, after he asked the lawyers to refrain from calling transgender female athletes “males.”

Last week, attorneys with the conservative Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom filed a motion arguing that U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny, of the District of Connecticut, should recuse himself from the case because he has “prejudged matters” and proven his inability to be impartial.

ADF filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of female student-athletes who are seeking to overturn a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference rule that allows transgender athletes to compete in sports based on the gender with which they identify.

ADF’s objection to Chatigny’s participation comes after the judge ordered ADF lawyers to refer to transgender athletes using female pronouns, saying his order was an effort to preserve “respectful, human, intelligent, civil discourse” and reflected current scientific and medical understanding of gender dysphoria, reports the Hartford Courant.

But ADF says they should be able to refer to transgender athletes based on their assigned sex at birth, because referring to biological males as females prejudices the case against their position, which is that transgender females are indeed males who enjoy an unfair physical advantage over cisgender females, thus necessitating a change to CIAC policy.

“Plaintiffs’ counsel have the right and professional responsibility to communicate clearly and accurately about their case and to present their arguments in a manner consistent with their legal theories and the dispositive facts,” ADF wrote in its motion seeking to have Chatigny removed from the case.

The plaintiffs have claimed that they missed out on certain athletic opportunities, honors, and potentially even college scholarships due to an unfair advantage that two transgender student-athletes, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, possessed due to their biological makeup.

Miller and Yearwood have previously won all-state and all-class honors, although Miller was recently defeated by one of the plaintiffs, Chelsea Mitchell, at the most recent state indoor track championship.

Both Miller and Yearwood have undergone hormone therapy, although CIAC’s policy does not require transgender people to undergo it in order to compete based on their gender identity.

USA Track and Field, the International Olympic Committee, and the NCAA all have a requirement that a trans person have undergone therapy for a set amount of time prior to competing in their preferred gender.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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