On Thursday, the Alaska State Board of Education approved a resolution that supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports. The resolution supported regulations that would prohibit students whose sex at birth wasn’t female from participating in girls’ sports. It also stated that regulation should offer a sports division for students who “identify with either sex or gender.”
This resolution was not on the published agenda of the board, which met from March 14 to 16 in Juneau. That led to the board’s support for the regulation of trans students in sports to surprise some involved in education policy. Sen. Löki Tobin, an Anchorage Democrat, was startled by the news.
“I’m a little flustered that I didn’t know about it,” she said.
Members of the board could not be reached for comment.
The resolution seeks to divide sports into two divisions – one for students whose sex at birth was female and one for students of either sex or gender.
The resolution comes on the heels of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s recently proposed bill which would require parents’ written permission before school employees could acknowledge a name or pronoun change.
Much of the language used in the drafted resolution revolved around what it referred to as fairness in girls’ sports. The language in the resolution said it was intended to balance “Competitive Fairness, Inclusion, and Safety for All Who Compete.”
For any change to occur, the state would first have to change its regulations. Currently, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District is the only district in the state that limits transgender athletes from participating on teams that align with their identities.
Tobin doubts the resolution could go further, saying that it infringes on rights protected by the Alaska Constitution. She voiced her support for transgender students who may be feeling uneasy by the resolution. “I hope they know that they have many advocates in state politics and in local politics who are here to celebrate them as they authentically are and who recognize their value and celebrate their individuality and will be vocal in our opposition to anything that might deny them their constitutionally protected rights.”
• Sophia Carlisle is a writer currently based in the Western United States.This article originally appeared online at alaskabeacon.com. Alaska Beacon, an affiliate of States Newsroom, is an independent, nonpartisan news organization focused on connecting Alaskans to their state government.