Three female high school runners in Connecticut have filed a federal lawsuit aiming to prevent transgender athletes from participating in women’s sport.

Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell and Alanna Smith have claimed that transgender runners who are allowed to compete against them at student competitions have an unfair advantage against female-born counterparts depriving them of scholarships.

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Mentally and physically, we know the outcome before the race even starts,” said Smith. “That biological unfairness doesn’t go away because of what someone believes about gender identity. All girls deserve the chance to compete on a level playing field.”

The suit which was filed against the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference is centred on Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller – two transgender high school seniors who together have won 15 state titles in different running events.

Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Forcing them to compete against boys isn’t fair, shatters their dreams, and destroys their athletic opportunities,” said attorney Christiana Holcomb, representing the girls.

Yearwood and Miller responded to the legal action by issuing a statement saying that they will defend their rights to perform in women’s competitions.

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There is a long history of excluding black girls from sport and policing our bodies,” Miller said in a statement. “I am a runner and I will keep running and keep fighting for my existence, my community and my rights.”