Transgender freshman in Conn. competes with girls track team for first time

Transgender freshman in Conn. competes with girls track team for first time

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Transgender freshman in Conn. competes with girls track team for first time

A Conn. high school is allowing a transgender student who identifies as a girl to compete for the girls track team.

Andraya Yearwood, a 15-year old Cromwell (Conn.) freshman, competed for the school’s girls track team Wednesday in a meet against Portland and Old Saybrook. The Hartford Courant tells Yearwood’s story.

With many cheering her on at her first high school track meet, Andraya won the girls 100- and 200-meter dashes, and helped her 4×100-meter relay team take second place. She ran 11.99 seconds in the 100 and 26.34 in the 200.

“I do hope I inspire people, but not only with track,” Andraya told the Hartford Courant. “I hope it inspires people to not hold yourself back just because you’re scared of it or it is your first time doing it, or because of other people’s negativity.

“I’m so happy and so excited to be doing this and so thankful for all of my support.”

According to the Courant, Yearwood told her father, Rahsaan Yearwood, and mother, Ngozi Nnaji, in middle school that she identified as a female.

Andraya Yearwood ran for the boys track team in middle school. Before starting at Cromwell High as a freshman, her family met with school officials, with Andraya wanting to participate with other girls. The school district then determined that she was eligible to participate on the girls team.

In the fall, she was a member of the cheerleading team.

“Once we identified that she was transgender, a weight lifted off her shoulders,” her mother told the Courant. “She’s been engaging in so many different things and so confident about what she is doing that she is almost a totally different person. And that’s what you want to see as a parent: a child that is confident and loves herself.”

Andraya’s times in the 100 and the 200 are among the state’s best. The Courant found that her 11.99 in the 100 would have won the Class M title and put her second at the State Open, .01 seconds behind the winning time.

“I know they’ll say it is unfair and not right, but my counter to that is: Why not?” her mother said. “She is competing and practicing and giving her all and performing and excelling based on her skills. Let that be enough. Let her do that, and be proud of that.”

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) defers to the decision of the student and his or her local school regarding gender identification. According the CIAC handbook, it is fundamentally unjust and contrary to state and federal law to preclude a student from participation on a gender-identification bias.

Before the meet, Old Saybrook and Portland were notified of Andraya’s participation and didn’t raise any issues.

In Texas, transgender wrestler Mack Beggs has drawn attention in recent months after he had to compete in the girls tournament in February because of a rule that requires athletes to compete as the gender listed on their birth certificates. He won the tournament but reiterated that he wante4d to wrestle boys.

In the last year, there have also been transgender track athletes making history in Iowa and in Alaska.

“I didn’t want to live my whole life hiding myself from my family and other people,” Andraya Yearwood told the Courant.

You can read the rest of the Hartford Courant story here.

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