A first in the state, the Mat-Su Borough School District has passed a policy that confirms that biological genders will be able to compete with their own genders in most school sports. The gender of the student is to be determined by what is on the birth certificate that is on record with the school, not what has been chemically or surgically altered on the child’s body.
The policy, which passed 6-1, is in response to a current national trend of males competing as females in competitions such as swimming, track and field, and other sports.
Some teams in lower-age categories are already co-educational, meaning that boys and girls compete together. But as children grow and their bodies change, they typically compete in their own gender category in competitions that involve strength and endurance, such as long-distance running.
The testimony from parents and community members during the Wednesday night school board meeting was mixed. About half were in favor of the policy, and half against it. But the written testimony received by the board was overwhelmingly in favor of the policy.
On a national level, swimmer Lia Thomas, who had competed as a male just a few months earlier, captured an NCAA swimming title in the women’s category.
Throughout the country, there is a trend developing where boys take medications and have surgeries to prevent them from developing their male bodies, so they can pass as females. Some are competing in high school sports against biological girls, and along with that has come the controversy over locker rooms, where boys with male genitalia are being allowed to undress in the same room as girls. Transgenderism is a growing trend in schools across the country. In the past, this condition has been called gender dysphoria, but it is rapidly gaining acceptance as simply a nonconforming form of expression.
The Mat-Su policy mirrors similar legislation being passed in other states, laws that have survived court challenges. But that is not to say that Alaska courts would uphold the policy, if it was challenged.
The new rule is also similar to a Senate bill offered by Sen. Shelley Hughes, which did not make it through the Alaska Legislature this year.
The main purpose of the school policy is to protect the rights of girls and young women to be able to compete on a level playing field, with others who share their gender characteristics.
Former Wasilla High School principal Dwight Probasco was the only dissenting member of the school board; his concerns seemed focused on the procedure the board took, moving the policy through the policy committee, which introduced it in early June. He said it was a policy for a problem that doesn’t exist.