Transgender competitors are increasingly visible in girls sports. Public opinion on the matter is starkly mixed, as evidenced by parent testimony at the Wenatchee School Board meeting on Tuesday - not to mention recent events in Kennewick.

As in commerce, a fair, open and genuinely competitive marketplace is considered sacrosanct in youth athletics. But some Wenatchee parents feel that their children are being shafted and even physically imperiled.

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Kathryn McDonald spoke on Tuesday as the mother of "three strong, athletic girls." According to McDonald, new Title IX revisions do a disservice to her daughters and all other cisgender girls.

"Men are, on average, physically stronger than women," McDonald said. "Men have 66 percent more upper body muscle than women and 50 percent more lower body muscle."

"Safety is another concern. Female athletes have been severely injured while competing against biological male athletes." McDonald concluded by demanding a separate league (or division) for trans competitors.

Rugby mom Chelsea Mahuika worries for her brood of six children. The notion of coed contact rugby terrifies her because male athletes have a "definite physical advantage."

In her impromptu speech on Tuesday, Mahuika stressed that boys and girls differ majorly in their "body makeup, how they're able to compete, how they're able to endure." She pleaded with the school board to do two things: "preserve girls sports" and resegregate high school bathrooms along gender lines.

But as T.J. Farrell pointed out, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not penalize gender nonconformity; the Olympics have been "trans-inclusive" since 2004. In that time, not a single openly trans athlete has qualified.

Lack of testosterone is supposedly kryptonite for girls in sports, but according to a bioethics expert quoted in Farrell's speech, there is no "clear, consistent relationship between testosterone and athletic performance. Sometimes it's associated with better performance, but other studies show weak links or no leaks."

Farrell also lamented the class divide that impels wealthier student-athletes to the top of the heap: "Some [athletes] have access to a lot of money for trainers, specialists, better equipment and transportation to training centers."

Click here to watch the meeting in its entirety.

Trans Day of Visibility in Wenatchee

Wenatchee Valley residents gather at Memorial Park to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility Friday.

Gallery Credit: Terra Sokol

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