Alaska Education Board is asking the state to ban transgender sports
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution calling on the state to limit the participation of transgender girls in girls’ school sports.
The resolution, passed Thursday, requires the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development to establish two athletic departments, one for athletes whose sex is female at birth and the other for students of all genders, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
The resolution was placed on the board’s last-minute agenda at the end of a three-day meeting in Juneau. It was unanimously supported by the eight members, the study advisor abstained.
Billy Strickland, the director of the Alaska School Activities Association, said the resolution is consistent with what members of Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration previously discussed with him. He said they wanted to create three divisions: boys, girls and a mixed division that would allow transgender athletes.
Strickland said there aren’t enough transgender athletes in Alaska to accommodate a third division. In fact, he said he only knew one transgender athlete in the nine years he’s headed the federation.
A statement emailed by Dunleavy’s office on Friday said girls playing in same-sex leagues should play against other girls.
“If a person who was born a male but feels out of place because of their gender identity playing in an all-boys league, the solution is not to allow them to compete against girls, but rather to allow them more opportunities to compete together create learning. “, the statement said. “It is time to seriously consider interscholastic mixed sports so that all students can compete at the highest level.”
Only the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School Board in Alaska has restricted participation by transgender athletes, Strickland said. School boards or districts set their policies, and most have not addressed the issue. In some football or hockey teams, girls often play alongside boys.
A message requesting a copy of the state board’s resolution was not immediately returned to The Associated Press on Friday. But a copy provided to the Anchorage newspaper called on the activities association to protect “the integrity of high school girls’ sports.”
“We are making a statement to keep girls’ sport safe, competitive and fair, that’s all,” CEO James Fields told the Daily News.
State Senator Loki Tobin, an Anchorage Democrat who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said she was concerned the board had violated its requirement to allow the public to comment on resolutions before a vote. She also raised concerns that the resolution could violate the Alaskan Constitution’s right to privacy.
The legislature may revoke proposed regulations for any state department.
“My primary concern is that I’m the chair of the state Senate Education Committee,” Tobin said. “I am concerned that the process has simply not been followed and we have not been able to make our public comment on the matter.”
Dunleavy proposed legislation earlier this month that would require students to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to their gender assigned at birth, the newspaper reported. It would also require parental consent for students to change their name or pronouns they use in school. Lawmakers did not vote on the bill.
Another bill that would reserve athletic departments for boys and girls and create a separate co-education department was also not heard.
The Alaska State Senate has a bipartisan majority and has announced it will avoid this session on contentious issues, including those affecting LGBTQ+ people.
The Associated Press