Alaska board of education votes to limit trans girls’ participation in sports

Alaska’s board of education has voted in support of a ban on transgender girls competing on female athletic teams.

In a  7-1 vote, the board has approved a regulation that states: “If a separate high school athletics team is established for female students, participation shall be limited to females who were assigned female at birth.”

The only opposing vote from the board, assembled by Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy, came from Felix Myers, the board’s high school representative. Another member abstained from the vote.

The results of the vote have been sent to the state’s Republican Attorney General Treg Taylor, who will determine whether the request goes into effect.

Alaska’s board of education has voted in support of a ban on transgender girls competing on female athletic teams. (Getty)

If passed, this would make Alaska one of at least 22 states that prevent transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams at K-12 schools, by categorising sports by sex rather than gender identity.

The state board of education originally broached the subject back in July, but an official vote was postponed after around 1,400 pages of written comments, and over two and a half hours of testimony were submitted for consideration, AP reports.

This week’s meeting did not take any comments or testimony from the public before their vote.

Board member Lorri Van Diest told AP that the comments made in July were about evenly split – up until a conservative family advocacy group submitted a petition and comments after the deadline.

However, according to the ACLU of Alaska almost three-quarters of those who testified in July spoke in opposition of the board’s proposal.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Van Diest said that she was “part of the group which prioritizes competitive fairness and safety for high school girl athletes,” per New Haven Register.

Another board member, Bob Griffin, said that while he had no personal objections to how people express their gender identity, it was “clear biological males have a significant competitive advantage over biological females in most competitive sports.”

Commenting on the vote results, the ACLU of Alaska’s Advocacy Director Michael Garvey said: “The decision to approve this proposal is a direct attack on Alaskan students who simply want to play sports, like any other kids.

Today the Board of Education passed its unconstitutional and harmful proposal banning trans girls from school sports by a vote of 7-1 (with 1 member abstaining). pic.twitter.com/YcEWxX1Q5B

— ACLU of Alaska (@ACLUofAlaska) August 31, 2023

“The Board has totally disregarded the ways this policy violates the privacy of young Alaskans, and sanctions wholesale discrimination against transgender children.

“The Board failed to recognize that Alaska’s constitutional rights, including equal protection under the law, apply to every single one of us, no matter our gender identity.”

The ACLU also issued a special mention to student representative Felix Myers for voting against the proposal.

In a comment posted to X (formerly Twitter), the ACLU of Alaska noted that Myers “defended his fellow students and made a great point that there are many issues impacting Alaska schools and students right now, but banning trans girls in sports is not one of them.”

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