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They used to call me "the fastest girl in Connecticut." But I couldn’t outrun an injustice.

For four years, I competed as a high school runner and made it to the state championships every one of those years. But in my junior year, I lost four of the state titles I earned to males who identified as females.


They give awards based on who wins—typically the person with the strongest muscles, the greatest lung power, the fastest speed—not based on how a person identifies. At the end of the race, it’s about biology, not gender identity. And no amount of testosterone suppression can change a male’s innate physical advantages, like bone structure and muscle mass.

Chelsea Mitchell, age 16 (11th grade), at the Connecticut State Open Championship on June 3, 2019.   (Christy Mitchell)

And fast as I am, I can’t outrun those advantages. Or the injustice that protects them.

For saying that out loud, I’ve been branded by some as a sore loser and a hater. But what I object to has nothing to do with hate.

Chelsea Chelsea Mitchell is a college sophomore and track athlete. She is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. (Alliance Defending Freedom)

Female athletes like me make a ton of sacrifices to compete—working tirelessly to shave fractions of seconds off our personal times and giving up what many would consider the "normal" teenage life by watching what we eat, skipping parties for practice, going to bed early to get up early and practice yet again. It becomes almost like a career. And we do all this while working hard to earn scholarship opportunities with preferred colleges and universities.


It’s all worth it to us because we know we stand a chance at victory against our fellow female athletes—but not against those who aren’t biologically female. It’s demoralizing to see all that effort and sacrifice as futile, where we are punished for a biological reality we can’t do anything about.

Chelsea Mitchell at Veterans Stadium in New Britain, Connecticut, in 2021. (Alliance Defending Freedom)

And that’s what’s been happening on high school and college campuses across America for the last several years. With the permission of coaches and administrators, as well as those in leadership at the National Collegiate Athletic Association, some male athletes have been pushing their way onto women’s sports teams and playing fields. With their physical advantages, they’ve been taking the positions, the wins, and the opportunities so many women and girls have worked so hard—often their entire life—to obtain.

Chelsea Mitchell, age 14 (9th grade), at the Class S Connecticut State Championship on June 1, 2017.  

When women protest this—objecting to seeing the rewards for all our hard work go to competitors with a biological edge we can’t hope to overcome—we’re accused of hatred and bigotry. But the issue is fairness. And the people who should be protecting us and defending our rights are letting us down, time after time.


Last fall, it was the International Olympic Committee, making way for male-bodied athletes to more freely compete in women’s sports. This month, it’s the NCAA, offering a complex and confusing list of directives that basically pass the baton to the governing bodies of individual sports. But then USA Track & Field, for example, points to the IOC policy, which points to other national and international bodies. The baton just keeps getting passed round and round and round.

Everyone in leadership seems to want someone else to take responsibility. Many of them are understandably scared that a minority of loud activists are going to take aim at their sport, their school, or them personally. So, they’re throwing female athletes under the bus, hoping we will eventually be quiet and all the commotion will eventually go away.

If it does, women’s sports will become a thing of the past.

There’s no way athletic administrators in every sport can’t see this. If biological males move into women’s competition, they will dominate whatever contests they enter. Eventually, nearly all the titles, all the scholarships, and all the opportunities to compete, earn scholarships and endorsements, and one day maybe even coach will go to the ones with the anatomical edge.

That’s just biological reality, and the leaders of sport are deliberately turning a blind eye to it.

Chelsea Mitchell at Veterans Stadium in New Britain, Connecticut, in 2021.   (Alliance Defending Freedom)

Under Title IX, they have a legal obligation to protect female athletes from this unfairness, but—just like the Connecticut Association of Schools, which I and other girls sued through our attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom—they’re not doing it. And that must mean that the dreams of women, the opportunities for women, the rights of women just don’t matter. On the playing field, or under the law.


Which means there’s a lot more at stake here than a footrace. Or a swimming event. Or an Olympic title. This is about what we think of women in America. This is about what’s safe and fair.

And that’s a responsibility our athletic administrators can’t outrun.