State activities association bans transgender girls from girls sports teams

Transgender girls in Alaska are now banned from competing on girls school sports teams.

The new rule took effect in November.

The board of the Alaska School Activities Association — which regulates school sports in the state — voted 5-3 in October to adopt the rule affecting transgender girls.

The rule was required by the state Board of Education, which voted in August to require that the association create a sports division limited to students who are assigned female at birth. That excludes transgender girls.

More than half of U.S. states have some policy restricting the athletic participation of transgender students. Twenty-three states have limited transgender students by law, according to a count by the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit whose stated mission includes promoting equity and inclusion.

Other states, including Alaska, have acted through regulation rather than law.

Members of the school board are appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and the new policy is one of several that his administration has proposed to limit the rights of transgender students.

Under the new activities association rule, a transgender girl is able to compete on a coed team or on a boys team, if a school has teams designated by gender.

Opponents of the policy, including the parents of transgender children, have said it will harm already marginalized transgender children, while seeking to solve a problem that has not been documented in the state.

Billy Strickland, executive director of ASAA, has said there is only one known instance of a transgender athlete competing at the championship level in Alaska.

The new ASAA rule is expected to draw legal challenges from civil rights organizations and could cause Alaska’s network of school sports to fracture.

The Alaska Beacon is an independent, donor-funded news organization.


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