“I don’t know what’s politically correct to say, but in my opinion your gender is what you’re born with,” said Peyton Young, a female competitor 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.”
Nattaphon Wangyot, an Anchorage High School senior –who self-identifies as a girl–advanced to the state finals in the 100-meter and 200-meter events. In both events the transgender high school runner competed against girls as young as ninth grade and won fifth place in the 100-meter dash and third place in the 200-meter. She immigrated from Thailand in 2014 and also has played on the girls’ volleyball and basketball teams.
One of the girls Wangyot beat out for a slot at the state meet, Hutchison runner Emma Daniels, took issue with allowing a male athlete to compete in girls events. “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,” she told a local Alaska CBS station.
Growing Issue Across US
Thirty states have a policy in place that, to at least to some capacity, allows transgender athletes to compete as the gender they identify. Alaska allows each school to decide whether to let boys compete in individual girls’ events. According to the Alaska Dispatch News, Wangyot’s district doesn’t even require boys to undergo hormone therapy before competing in girls’ events. The district simply allows a boy to compete as a girl if the student is consistent in their declaration of gender identity, their actions, attitude, dress and mannerisms.
Alaska Family Action president Jim Minnery, organized a protest against forcing teenage girls to compete against male athletes. “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,” he said. “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.”
Some argue that eventually schools will abandon gendered sports completely. Girls will compete alongside guys in all activities – that’s where we’re headed, isn’t it? These predicted changes doesn’t bode well for the athletic girls who just want a chance to succeed, receive recognition or earn scholarships. For some families athletic scholarships have been traditionally the only way their daughter could gain a college education due to their limited budget.
It won’t be easy when they have to compete against the boys but last week’s Alaska competition outcome did have a bit of irony. Despite the biological advantage, Wangyot didn’t win. It wasn’t even close! She only finished third, losing out to state track star Tanner Ealum, who swept every event she was in.