In Kenai, a young girl who likes to think of herself as a boy may be the ACLU’s plaintiff in an upcoming lawsuit, because she is not allowed to compete as a runner on the boys track team.
In September, the ACLU of Alaska sent a letter on behalf of what it calls a transgender middle school student-athlete on the Kenai Peninsula who has been told she can’t compete on the boys’ cross-country team.
This fall, the student* joined the cross-country running team, a non-contact sports team open to all cisgender seventh graders without an athletic tryout. The student loves running and loves the team; being part of it has been a crucial aspect of their adjustment to seventh grade and their new school. Their mother has described cross-country running as ‘bringing a new light into [their] life,'” the ACLU of Alaska’s attorney wrote, calling other girls who are not transgender by the new insult label “cisgender.”
This week, the Alaska School Activities Association, which is a coordinating and governing body for high school sports in Alaska, passed a bylaw that brings it in line with regulations from the State of Alaska School Board. The board has come down on the side of protecting students in a way that is fair to both boys and girls. But the ASAA does not govern athletics at the middle school level, leaving the Kenai Peninsula School District vulnerable to a lawsuit.
“Blocking the student from participating in middle school athletics violates the School District’s own policies. Although the ASAA’s (Alaska School Activities Association) bylaws and policies apply statewide to member schools’ high school-level sports and activities, ASAA bylaws make clear that ASAA does not regulate athletics at the middle school level. The KPBSD Middle School Handbook SY 2023-24 contains no specific policies regarding transgender or non-binary student-athletes. It does not even authorize the middle school to have gender-segregated teams for cross-country running at all,” the lawyer wrote.
The girl has been running with the boys during practices, “consistent with their gender identity and with their coach’s support. But the student was informed that they would only be permitted to run with the girls’ team at meets. After attempting to participate with the boys’ team, the student was told they could not attend any more away meets, effectively suspending them from the cross-country team,” the ACLU wrote.
The letter from the ACLU of Alaska is a clear threat against the Kenai Peninsula School District. It’s not clear that the girl in question is “not a girl,” as the ACLU of Alaska insists, since it is unlikely that she has gone trough chemical and surgical castration as a seventh grader, or is able to change her DNA. Most seventh graders are still 12 years old in the fall of the school year.
This could be the girl that is a sympathetic “injured party,” to allow the ACLU to take the Kenai Peninsula School District, as it whittles away at the trend across the country to protect girls sports. The letter from the ACLU of Alaska follows: