State board of education passes resolution recommending ban of trans athletes from girl’s teams

FastCast digital headlines for Friday, March 17, 2023
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:45 PM AKDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:43 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In a meeting on Thursday, the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development adopted a resolution to urge the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development to ban transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports.

No public notice was given for the resolution which says that the separation of gender in youth sports is “related to competitive fairness and promotion of broad and equal participation” and claims that boys gain physiological advantages in sports as they undergo puberty.

Resolution 02-2023 calls for girls’ sports divisions to be “based on a student’s sex at birth,” “provide a division for students who identify with either sex or gender,” and “provide an appeal process for all students.”

Chair of the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development Jason Fields denied that the resolution bans trans girls from participating in athletics.

“They’re not excluded from participating. And I think basically, we set that up in the resolution that there would be a girls division, and then there’s also an open division — which would be any boys, girls, however you identify,” Fields said.

It does appear, however, that trans girls would be excluded from joining the teams of the gender to which they are transitioning.

According to Fields, the item was brought forward by a board member and “put on the agenda as a resolution to protect and support girls’ and women’s sports.”

Fields claimed that because boys and girls have bodies of different sizes and abilities, they should be separated during sports activities.

“If you look at strength, and speed, size of heart, size of all of the circulatory — all of that is larger and stronger. So that’s why I say it’s as much a safety issue as anything to keep those kids on the playing field safe, no matter if they’re boys or girls,” Fields said.

The physiological changes of puberty occur in girls before boys, according to the National Institute of Health’s MedlinePlus database. Puberty in girls typically happens between the ages of 10 and 14, while in boys it is usually seen between 12 and 16 years of age.

Vincent Feuilles, of Valley-based organization The Queen’s Guard, says the resolution is unfair, as was the way the resolution came about.

“Unfortunately there was no public forum — to my knowledge — no public notification about this,” Feuilles said.

After reviewing the resolution, Feuilles explained how it read to him.

“The narrative there is, unfortunately, it’s entirely false and it’s misleading,” Feuilles said. “There’s no transgender people are allowed to play on teams according to their gender identity.”

The issue of funding and other logistical issues for creating a third division of play were not clear in the resolution, Feuilles said.

It also does not make any acknowledgment that major physiological differences already exist within the current gendered divisions and assumes massive disparities between boys and girls who are still maturing.

“What this is not taking into account is that at this point in time we have a lot of folks who are beginning to transition at earlier ages. So they are doing so with the help of hormone blockers, which means that the ‘unfair advantage’ that is being touted by so many is not accurate to begin with.

Feuilles says that there are more significant physical differences when comparing people who transitioned at an older age than those who transition at younger ages with the aid of hormones.

“When you then start looking at folks who have transitioned later on, there is a large amount of, for transgender women, there’s a large amount of muscle mass loss that does happen and does occur as part of their transition,” Feuilles said.

“There’s more to it than just, ‘Oh, well, this is somebody who, yesterday they were competing as a male in male sports and now today, they’re saying they’re female and competing in female sports.’”