High school girls in Alaska do not appreciate losing track and field events to a biological male, even if he identifies as a girl. This year was the first time in the state’s history that a male athlete competed in the girls’ state championships, and not everyone is celebrating the transgender milestone.
Haines High School senior Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot competed at the state championships in late May, running the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. Wangyot immigrated from Thailand in 2014, and competed in girls’ volleyball and basketball in the fall.
When Wangyot qualified for state earlier in May, one of the girls she beat was less than impressed. “I’m glad that this person is comfortable with who they are and they’re able to be happy in who they are, but I don’t think it’s competitively completely 100-percent fair,” said Saskia Harrison, a runner for Hutchison High School in Fairbanks. Harrison just missed the cut with a time of 14.11 seconds.
“I don’t know what’s politically correct to say, but in my opinion your gender is what you’re born with,” Peyton Young, a junior from Eagle River High School who won the 3,200-meter race, told the Alaska Dispatch News. “It’s the DNA. Genetically a guy has more muscle mass than a girl, and if he’s racing against a girl, he may have an advantage.”
Jim Minnery, president of the conservative organization Alaska Family Action, held an afternoon press conference at the championships. “We are here today as a voice from the community to ensure that female athletes are not denied the playing opportunities and scholarships otherwise available to them and to make the playing field even again,” Minnery declared.
He argued that “allowing students to play on teams of the opposite sex disproportionately impacts female students, who will lose spots on a track, soccer and volleyball teams to male students who identify as female.”
Next Page: “I didn’t even notice” a transgender athlete was competing. Why this is NOT an argument for transgender inclusion in women’s sports.
Freshman Alia Bales said she didn’t even notice that a transgender athlete was competing in the event. “I didn’t notice it,” she said. If Minnery and Harrison are correct that male athletes competing as transgender girls will push biological girls off of teams and away from championships, these effects might go unnoticed. Rather than an argument for transgender inclusion, this invisibility may just make any sinister effects harder to see.
Alaska adopted a policy in May 2015 allowing each school district to choose whether or not to allow transgender athletes to compete with members of the opposite biological sex. The official policy allows transgenders to compete so long as the gender of the events fits “the student’s consistent declaration of gender identity, their actions, attitude, dress and mannerisms.”
Even so, they allow male-to-female transgenders to compete without requiring the boys to undergo hormone therapy. Critics may argue that this exacerbates the unfairness of a biological male’s hidden advantages over girls.
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