The Mat-Su school board is considering banning transgender athletes from girls’ sports

Matanuska-Susitna District school board members are discussing a proposed change to its sports policy that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams. (Screenshot from school board livestream.)

The Matanuska-Susitna County School Board is considering changing its sports policy to prevent transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams.

Under the proposal of the board’s policy committee, students’ eligibility to play on girls’ teams would be based on their gender assigned at birth. If a transgender girl wanted to play sports, she could only play on a boys’ or mixed team.

School Board President Ryan Ponder is one of three board members who recommended the change. He read the proposal at a school board meeting on Wednesday.

“The aim of this policy is to ensure that girls and women are not discriminated against, are treated fairly and are not disadvantaged in sports programs compared to male athletes,” he read.

Several school board members expressed their support for the policy. Member Jubilee Underwood said her son plays basketball in the district and she thought most parents would support the proposed policy.

One parent who disagreed was Robin Moffet. She has four children in the district and told the board that getting trans students involved in the sport is important to her mental health.

“When this ban is imposed, it tells trans youth, athletes and non-athletes, whether out in the open or in secret, that the adult leaders in this community are not safe and cannot be trusted,” she said. “That distrust and fear will lead to more suicide, more self-harm and more violence for these already more vulnerable youth.”

Board member Dwight Probasco questioned the legality of the policy. He asked county prosecutors to clarify whether the policy would be considered discriminatory.

“You know, we’re talking about a level playing field. It’s unique,” he said. “Where are our fields for our trans children and what would they look like?”

The school board will vote on it at its next meeting on June 15.

Near the end of the legislative session, state senators voted to introduce a bill that would have enacted similar restrictions statewide. About a dozen states have enacted similar laws.

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