USA Today Edits Teen Girl’s Op-ed for ‘Hurtful’ Language on Trans Athletes

Chelsea Mitchell
Kassi Jackson/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

USA Today is under fire after altering an op-ed written by a Connecticut girl explaining the disadvantage she and other female athletes face in competing against boys claiming to be transgender girls in track and field, adding an editor’s note to the top apologizing for “hurtful” language used in the piece and altering her words, specifically targeting the word “male.”

The publication originally ran a piece from the young woman, Chelsea Mitchell, who detailed her struggles competing against biological boys claiming to be transgender girls.

“Instead, all I can think about is how all my training, everything I’ve done to maximize my performance, might not be enough, simply because there’s a runner on the line with an enormous physical advantage: a male body,” she wrote in the original piece. However, the current version of the USA Today piece omits those three words: “A male body.”

That is not the only edit, either. An editor’s note at the top of the article provides the following explanation: “This column has been updated to reflect USA TODAY’s standards and style guidelines. We regret that hurtful language was used.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom, representing Mitchell, explained that the publication altered her op-ed on May 25 without notice, changing male to transgender in the body of the article.

More examples of USA Today’s changes, emphasis added:

Original:

I won that race, and I’m grateful. But time after time, I have lost. I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to male runners. I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019, behind two male runners. With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again.

USA Today edits:

I won that race, and I’m grateful. But time after time, I have lost. I’ve lost four women’s state championship titles, two all-New England awards, and numerous other spots on the podium to transgender runners. I was bumped to third place in the 55-meter dash in 2019, behind two transgender runners. With every loss, it gets harder and harder to try again.

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