UPDATE: At its July 26th meeting, the Alaska Board of Education decided not to pass the proposal to ban trans girls from Alaska school sports until further consideration. At the hearing, 70% of Alaskans who testified opposed the proposal. The Board reconvened on August 31st and voted 7-1 (with one member abstaining) to pass the proposal. Here is our press statement on the decision.
The ACLU of Alaska will fight this policy with everything we have and are committed to upholding the rights of trans Alaskans in every public space.
The Alaska Board of Education is proposing a change to state regulations to prohibit trans girls from participating in sports. The change would apply to schools and districts across Alaska who join the Alaska State Activities Association (ASAA), which sanctions interscholastic sports.
The proposal states that “if a separate high school athletics team is established for female students, participation shall be limited to females who were assigned female at birth.” It would apply to competitive or contact sports as determined by ASAA.
The proposal raises serious privacy concerns, including the risk that a transgender student is outed because they cannot participate on a team that matches their gender identity, and that children will be subject to invasive physical examinations outside routine and necessary practice for participation in school sports.
Additionally, the proposal specifically targets girls and is therefore in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.
The Board of Education issued this proposal on June 21, 2023 and opened a 30-day public comment period seeking feedback from the public. Submit a comment here opposing this proposal today.
Trans students participate in sports for the same reasons other young people do: to challenge themselves, improve fitness, and be part of a team. If passed, this policy would deprive student athletes of opportunities available to their peers and send the message they are not worthy of a full life.
Trans girls are girls – and barring them from competing on teams aligning with their gender identity effectively excludes them from participating at all. This jeopardizes their mental health, physical well-being and ability to access education opportunities comparable to their peers.
School athletics in Alaska are a time-honored tradition that give youth the ability to work with their peers, develop critical leadership skills, and find community. All students, regardless of their gender identity, deserve the opportunity to compete in school sports.
The Board of Education is seeking public comments on the proposal until Friday, July 21. Submit a comment here. The Board will also hear comments at a public hearing at 8:45 a.m. on July 26. The hearing will be conducted by Zoom. Be sure to join before 9:15 a.m. in order to be heard. You can join online at http://us02web.zoom.us/j/99391482721 or by calling 1-253-215-8782 and selecting *9 on your phone’s keypad.