In February 2020, Chelsea Mitchell and three other elite Connecticut high school track athletes filed a lawsuit on the basis that allowing transgender women — who are biologically male — to compete in girls’ sports violates Title IX.

Recently, USA Today published an opinion piece by Mitchell explaining and defending her position that forcing girls to compete against biological males in sports is ultimately anti-fairness. And she makes a powerful case:

It’s February 2020. I’m crouched at the starting line of the high school girls’ 55-meter indoor race. This should be one of the best days of my life. I’m running in the state championship, and I’m ranked the fastest high school female in the 55-meter dash in the state. I should be feeling confident. I should know that I have a strong shot at winning.

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 transgender runner on the line with an enormous physical advantage.

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.

That’s a devastating experience. It tells me that I’m not good enough; that my body isn’t good enough; and that no matter how hard I work, I am unlikely to succeed, because I’m a woman.

Do yourselves a favor and read the whole thing. Well, you can sort of read the whole thing. See, USA Today made some changes to Mitchell’s original piece:

So, what, exactly, did Mitchell say that violated USA Today’s standards and style guidelines? What language did she use that was so hurtful?

Here’s the portion of Mitchell’s piece we excerpted above, as originally written, without USA Today’s little fixes:

It’s February 2020. I’m crouched at the starting line of the high school girls’ 55-meter indoor race. This should be one of the best days of my life. I’m running in the state championship, and I’m ranked the fastest high school female in the 55-meter dash in the state. I should be feeling confident. I should know that I have a strong shot at winning.

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.

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.

That’s a devastating experience. It tells me that I’m not good enough; that my body isn’t good enough; and that no matter how hard I work, I am unlikely to succeed, because I’m a woman.

If you want to know how Mitchell feels authentically, you should probably read that version instead.

Apparently editorial malpractice isn’t in violation of USA Today’s standards and style guidelines. Go figure.