A male won the all-state honors in girls’ high school track and field — and his female competitors are saying he had a disqualifying advantage.
Haines High School senior Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot, a biological male who self-identifies as female, is the first trans woman in Alaskan history to compete against females in a girls’ track and field state championship, according to local reporters.
Wangyot qualified for finals at the 2016 Alaska State Track Championships after winning fifth place in the 100-meter dash and third place in the 200-meter dash, competing against girls as young as 14 years old.
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Emma Daniels, who was out-sprinted by Wangyot, told the local CBS station her competitor made for an unequal playing field.
“I’m glad that this person is comfortable with who they are and they’re able to be happy in who they are, but I don’t think it’s competitively completely 100-percent fair,” she said.
Peyton Young, who competed in a different event, said Wangyot’s advantage boils down to science.
“It’s the DNA. Genetically a guy has more muscle mass than a girl, and if he’s racing against a girl, he may have an advantage,” Young said.
Alaska School Activities Association adopted a policy on transgender athletes about two months ago that allows schools to decide at a local level whether competitors in each sport are decided by their biological or identified gender.
The Haines Borough School District policy states: “For the purposes of gender identification for interscholastic activities, the district will consider the gender identity based on the student’s consistent declaration of gender identity, their actions, attitude, dress, and mannerisms,” according to Chilkat Valley News.
Alaska Family Action president Jim Minnery held a protest “to ensure that female athletes are not denied the playing opportunities and scholarships otherwise available to them and to make the playing field even again.”
About a dozen supporters stood behind Minnery as he explained the risk of teenage girls getting short-changed if they’re forced to compete against male athletes.
“Allowing students to play on teams of the opposite sex disproportionately impacts female students, who will lose spots on track, soccer, and volleyball teams to [biologically] male students who identify as female.”
Wangyot also competed on the girls’ volleyball and basketball teams.
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(Feature image via KTVA-TV screengrab. Wangyot is on the right.)