Proposal limits team options for transgender student-athletes

FastCast digital headlines for Thursday, June 8, 2023.
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 5:24 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development is advancing a proposal that would limit which school sports teams transgender athletes could play on. The proposal would require student-athletes to play on a team that aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, under the proposal, transgender girls couldn’t play on girls teams but could play on boys teams or teams that include both sexes.

At a meeting in Kenai on Thursday, the board voted to put the proposal out for 30 days of public comment before making a decision on whether the proposal would become a new state requirement.

Also on Thursday, the board heard public testimony from student-athletes and their parents who overwhelmingly voiced concerns about girls playing on teams with someone who was born male. They cited unfair physical advantages and the possibility of injury for female athletes.

“Allowing males to compete against females would wipe out women’s sports and women would not have the opportunity to succeed in athletics,” said a female high school athlete from Soldotna.

“It’s a topic that shouldn’t even be a topic. The idea of biological males competing in female sports should not happen,” said a man who identified as a coach and the father of several female athletes.

One person concerned about the proposal is Alaska Sen. Löki Gale Tobin. Tobin is the chair of the Senate Education Committee. She believes the proposal unfairly targets the trans community and doesn’t think it’s legal for the Board of Education to make state policy.

“Our State Board of Education are not elected members, they are not representing the voices of Alaskans. They are taking an arguably action-oriented approach to state regulatory processes and that is not what we ask of our boards and commissions,” she said.

Alaskans will have 30 days to comment on the proposal, pending its review and approval by the State Department of Law.