After receiving more than 1,300 written comments and listening to more than two and a half hours of public testimony, the Alaska State Board of Education chose to delay making a final decision on whether to ban gender-confused biological males from participating in girls high school sports.

The July 26 education board meeting included passionate testimony on a proposed rule change that seeks to clarify that girls sports are reserved for biological females.

Opponents of the proposed change included activist groups Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Alaska, along with many public school teachers and principals. Most of these written and oral testimonies – many of which were submitted through a boilerplate form letter – claimed that males who think they are females should be encouraged and supported in their beliefs, even if that means letting physically stronger and faster boys compete as though they were girls.

“Trans girls are girls,” was a commonly repeated phrase throughout the testimonies.

Supporters of the proposed change pointed out that letting gender-confused males compete in girls’ sports undermines the integrity and safety of female athletics. They also noted that girls stand to lose out on opportunities to compete for championships and earn scholarships if their division is opened up to biological males.

Education board member Lorri Van Diest summarized the debate towards the end of the July 26 meeting.

“I can’t say I really appreciated the hatred and name calling that was directed at me,” she said, adding that the main division centered on two differing values. On the one hand, transgender activists want to affirm biological males who believe they are female. On the other hand, advocates for girls’ sports are asking the state to uphold safety and fairness in female-only competitions.

Ultimately, the board decided to postpone a final decision in order to process the mountain of letters and comments. The board will hold a special meeting in the near future to hold a final vote. Van Diest said she wants the meeting to take place “sooner rather than later.”

Board member Jeff Erickson agreed, saying the board needs to demonstrate due diligence in taking “a good look” at all of the concerns raised on both sides.

If the board approves the proposed change, it would then be reviewed by the Alaska Department of Law and sent to the Lt. Governor’s Office for final inspection. The new regulation would become effective 30 days after the Lt. Governor signs off.

If adopted, the proposed changes would direct the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA), which oversees high school athletic competitions in Alaska, to bar gender-confused biological males from participating in female-only competitions. It would also require the ASAA to offer a co-ed division, in which girls could attempt to compete against males if they choose to do so.

Currently, each individual school is allowed to make a “gender determination” regarding a student’s sex. ASAA simply accepts – without challenge – whatever each school determines, which means gender-confused biological males who claim to be female have been allowed to compete against girls. Anchorage and Fairbanks are the two largest districts that allow for this, while the Mat-Su expressly prohibits biological males from competing on all-girls teams.

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Alaska education board delays vote to ban biological males from girls high school sports

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Mike Clayton Coons says:

    My email to the board.
    I watched the entire day of this meeting. To say I was “dismayed” that the regulation change for girls sports was not finalized is an understatement. Yes, I understand that there were 1300 comments sent to the board from what Lorri Van Diest and the Student member said, I take it that all but the new members have read those comments. To Lorri, it saddened me that she got personal attack e-mails. That is not how policy decisions are to be “debated”, to the contrary. I appreciated her comment that this boils down to “Inclusion” vs “Safety and fairness”. I must respond to that. Safety and fairness always trumps anything else. Not to mention that the side that is screaming for “Inclusion” by their own actions are the most egregious group of all in not allowing differing views to be heard and debated. That is just one of the reasons we are so opposed to DEI, it is all one sided!
    Commissioner Fields indicated that he wanted to have legal review the “concerns” that were raised prior to the vote. I would think at this late date, you would know that those “concerns” were not concerns but flat out lies. Such as coaches would have to see genital organs to allow a girl to play. That is not in the regulation, nor the resolution but instead this is a “trigger” lie designed to upset the uninformed. In point of fact, I stated in the chat box that since the students have to have a sports physical, any “question” would be handled by the indication from the Doctor or Nurse performing the physical if the student was a male or female. I responsed to the comment by a testifier, that other States have or may have Birth Certificates that say, Male, Female, “non-binary” or whatever and that family moves to Alaska, then the sports physical would answer that question. Of importance, we in Alaska still and will continue to have Birth Certificates showing Male or Female only. All of the other “concerns” were not concerns at all but talking points with no basis in fact. The most outlandish was the comments that “trans girls are girls”. Even if at those ages that student has had genital surgery, that student is not and never will be a girl, but a male with plastic surgery!
    I do understand the comment that since you have two new members that you wanted them to have the time to digest those 1300 comments. Since neither said they had read all and were ready to vote on this matter, I then assume they had not read.
    I also understand the comment by Chair Fields that to wait until another date would show to all concerned that you are being deliberative in looking at all comments and digesting those views. Yet, I go back to those on the board having read all and listened to all comments, any concerns could have been asked to the board lawyer with an answer right then. You all, save the two new members have had the time to deliberate and I would hope that the two new members, knowing they were being appointed would have been doing the same. Let’s be realistic here, no matter the outcome of the vote either side would howl that you didn’t give the time to decide.
    So, in closing, I ask with full respect to the members that a special meeting be held no later than the middle of August, this allows for the 2 weeks to inform the public of the meeting. That give legal time to answer any questions/concerns and the two new members to get fully up to speed on the 1300 comments and the issues.

    Mike Coons
    Palmer, Alaska

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    in order to process the mountain of letters and comments.
    What don’t they get, if your born a man your a man end of story.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I thought about that comment also. Are they going to tally and vote based on the tally?

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    This is infuriating and it sounds like the sane population has dropped the ball again. The majority of letters were boiler plate from the deluded? Where are all the conservatives, most whom understand simple biology? I took time to craft a letter that I emailed as a Word document. I sent it to a number of people to help them draft their own and I was disheartened to hear the standard ‘I don’t know what to say…’. Good grief, it was a simple as saying “please keep the proposed changes and protect women’s sports”. We get what we deserve. I am thankful our daughter enjoyed four years of college on athletic scholarship, accruing no student loan debt. It is sad that those coming after her will soon no longer have that opportunity as the sociological contagion spreads in darkness across the nation.

    • Shelley Hughes says:

      Thank you for taking the time, Elizabeth. We need more Alaskans to take the time and speak up like you did. The silent majority better stop being silent – too much is at stake. Gallup’s recent poll (national poll) showed only 26% support bio males playing on girls’ teams. I’d expect that percentage to be fairly similar here in Alaska, yet the turnout for public testimony was 5:2 against protecting girls’ sports. Come on, Alaskans! Speak up silent majority. Whining among ourselves will not do us any good.

    • micah says:

      I know several Alaskans who wrote the board- including myself. True that more would be better.

      What we have here is a lack a courage on the part of the board. They know the right thing to do but social concerns rank higher for them. Here is a hint Alaska State Board of Education. Not everyone in life will like you. In fact, if everyone does you are doing life wrong. Wet noodles just flop about and serve no purpose.

  • Kathleen Dastous says:

    I read that these comments they are reading are from a “ boiler-plate” template. Haven’t we heard this before? Anyone can send a comment in and put a name to it! Sorry, just the first thought that came to my mind as a former business/computer teacher.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Saw this meme from gab with Mr. Rogers singing and I say AMEN!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Welcome to the System!
    ‘Tom MacDonald – The System (Lyrics) New Song’