Alaska Becomes 24th State to Protect Girls’ Sports
Twenty-three U.S. states have already set into motion laws that ban biological men from competing in women’s sports. Considering the vast physiological differences between men and women, as many experts have emphasized, this is a huge win for advocates of girls’ sports. After action by state officials, Alaska may be next in line to enact a similar ban.
This month, the Alaska State Board of Education & Early Development approved a state law amendment, stating, “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 language is under review by the Alaska Department of Law led by Attorney General Treg Taylor (R), and could take an additional month to go into effect.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) applauded the effort, posting, “Thank you to the State Board of Education for acting to protect the opportunity for girls to participate in high school sports in a division that is safe, fair, and competitive. … I appreciate board members taking the time to get this regulation right.”
While many are celebrating the amendment, groups such as ACLU of Alaska responded with a press release “condemning the amendment.” ACLU AK Advocacy Director Michael Garvey said, “The Board has totally disregarded the ways this policy violates the privacy of young Alaskans, and sanctions wholesale discrimination against transgender children.” He continued, “The decision to approve this proposal is a direct attack on Alaskan students who simply want to play sports, like any other kid.”
ACLU AK Executive Director Mara Kimmel chimed in, “[This ban] excludes and marginalizes our kids and is the exact opposite of what our schools should be teaching — that all of us belong and all of us matter.”
Concerning the move by the Alaska State Board of Education, board member Bob Griffin shared that he doesn’t object to how people choose to identify, but also insisted,“[T]he issue at hand is not gender identity, it’s performance differences between biological males and biological females.” He added, “If this were not true, we wouldn’t need Title IX or separate sport divisions for boys and girls.”
Meanwhile, backlash continues for those who openly object to biological men competing in women’s sports. Kim Russell, head coach of Oberlin College’s women’s lacrosse team, has been subject to multiple disciplinary hearings for her Instagram post advocating for the protection of women’s sports. “I was not just chastised. I was burned at the stake. I was stoned. I was basically told I was a horrible person, and it was heartbreaking, really,” Russell told Independent Women’s Forum.
Russell was described to be “filled with hate” and her actions “unacceptable.” To this she responded, “It is my job to be a voice for everyone who is too afraid, … because if I don’t speak out, who is going to speak?”
In response to LGBT activists in Alaska, who claim protecting women’s sports is “intolerant,” Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, said, “If you take the statement from the ACLU and substitute ‘women and girls’ for ‘transgender students,’ almost everything they claim would be true. Unfortunately, the ACLU is dead wrong on this one.”
Kilgannon went on to point out that no one is being “banned” from playing sports, so this isn’t a matter of rights. “Boys can play on the boy’s teams, and girls can play on the girl’s teams,” she added. What is being banned, as the law amendment states, is biological men competing in biological women’s sports.
Over the past few years, Kilgannon said, “The ACLU’s historic purpose of defending civil liberties is being twisted into the insane pursuit of ‘rights’ for men to enter lady’s locker rooms and win women’s trophies. This is dangerous for our children and our country.”
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.