Breaking barriers sometimes comes with a price. Just ask the members of the girls’ track and field teams at high schools across Alaska. Many of them are miffed at being bested at a chance to go to state finals by Haines High School senior Nattaphon Wangyot.
The girls’ beef is not that Wangyot emigrated from Thailand in 2014 and should, therefore, be disqualified as a “ringer.” Rather, it is that Wangyot sports a wang. He is a male who self-identifies as a female, which is perfectly in keeping with district policy, which 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.
One of the girls Wangyot beat out for a seed at state, Saskia Harrison, told Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA:
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.
Another sprinter, Peyton Young, echoed that sentiment, telling the Alaska Dispatch News:
I don’t know what’s politically correct to say, but in my opinion your gender is what you’re born with.
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.
Wherein lies the rub. In addition to which is the fact that some of the girls Wangyot beat out were as young as 14.
Alaska Family Action, a group that supports traditional values, organized a protest against forcing teenage girls to compete against male athletes. Jim Minnery, the organization’s president, said in a statement:
We are here today as a voice from the community 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.
Allowing students to play on teams of the opposite sex disproportionately impacts female students, who will lose spots on a track, soccer and volleyball teams to male students who identify as female.
A video from KTVA follows: