OPINION: We’re 56 Alaska athletes of all ages and skill levels. We support trans kids in sports.

We are athletes from Alaska, and we support transgender children playing sports on teams that align with their gender identity. Our backgrounds are diverse, ranging from K-12 to NCAA Division 1-level competitive sports and beyond. We believe all children deserve the same opportunities to play, lose, win and learn.

It can be hard to understand what it means to be transgender, especially if you’ve never met a transgender person. But we can all agree that transgender kids should be treated with dignity and respect, just like everyone else. Trans kids are kids, just like your kids and like the kid you used to be. Trans kids like all the same things those kids like. They like to learn, dance, play, sing and compete in sports.

In 2021, the Alaska Legislature proposed a statewide anti-trans sports ban that was stopped after overwhelming public testimony, and a similar ban by the Alaska School Activities Association was tabled after public testimony earlier this year. But now the Alaska Board of Education has proposed a similar regulation change that would violate every student’s privacy and prohibit trans children from playing sports on teams that match their gender identity. We want to encourage the Board of Education to consider how that change would hurt trans children and all of Alaska’s young people.

Every child deserves to know what it’s like to compete in sports. They deserve to learn what it’s like to be tied 24-24 in the third set of a volleyball game, or pushing to the limit to beat a personal record. They should know what it’s like to lift up and be lifted up by your teammates. They deserve the rush and euphoria of a hard-fought win! They also deserve to know what it’s like to have to ride the bus back home after their team didn’t play its best. They should have the opportunity to feel like they could have done better, to experience disappointment and to learn from it, to get back to practice with a supportive coach. These are experiences that any athlete knows. They are experiences that build character, fortitude and lifelong memories.

The purpose of school sports is not to train Olympians or elite athletes, although many Olympians and elite athletes may come out of Alaska’s K-12 sports teams. The purpose of K-12 sports in Alaska is to teach students skills like leadership, hard work, teamwork, inclusion, sportsmanship, self-discipline, perseverance and communication. Not only do trans students benefit from learning these skills, but their participation enriches those skills for others. Too often, though, requiring that a trans student compete with the sports team corresponding to their sex assigned at birth means that they don’t compete at all.

Cisgender students suffer under this policy as well, because enforcing the policy will require diminishing the privacy of all students in order to determine their sex assigned at birth. Every student is up for questioning or investigation by adults who should be there as trusted mentors, not gender police.

We urge the Alaska Department of Education to live its mission and continue to work towards providing an excellent experience for every student by not adopting the proposed regulation changes.


Isa Weiss, Division 1 gymnast

Ava Earl, Division 1 cross-country runner

Jenna DiFolco, former University of Alaska Anchorage cross-country skier

Kelly Meierotto, University of Alaska Swimming alumna

Sarah Mehl Histand, Alaskan mental health therapist and fitness trainer

Angelica Peger, president of Fairbanks Roller Derby

Bird Nelson, owner of Ascension Rock Club

Jade Bodenhamer, yoga instructor

Nolan Earnest, cross-country running

Justin Hannah, cross-country running

Brianna Silva, volleyball

Zoe Foshee, flag football

Bradley Cross, track and field

Kristina Miller, soccer

Roan Willson, alpine skiing

Julian Dann, biking

Hannah Kepner, rock climbing


Hunter Moeller, cross-country skiing

Hannah Chapman-Dutton, volleyball

David Song, tennis

Laura Weingartner, soccer

Anika Pinzner, field hockey

Colin Mckenzie, cross-country skiing

Kendell Macomber, aerial arts

Victoria Nelson, bowling

A. Hunter, taekwondo

Josef Maier, rock climbing

Hopelynn Uele, volleyball

Kuba Grzeda, cross-country running

Sarah Goetz, aerial arts

Morganne Armstrong, basketball

Reily Dixon, cross-country skiing

Issa Spatrisano, rugby

Erin I’nama, swimming

Frana Burtness-Adams, volleyball

Cora DeLaca, alpine skiing

Alanna Greenwell, cross-country running


Jennifer Campbell, basketball

Brandy Harty, cross-country skiing

Scott Joyce, basketball

Kristen Schupp, cross-country skiing

Wendy Berg, cross-country skiing

Nani Saunders, swimming


Jessica Maier, ice hockey

M. Szatkowski, cross-country running

Michelle Gavel, cycling

Jennifer Anderson

Andrew Pace, running

Kristin Knight Pace, long-distance dog mushing

Corrine Leistikow, M.D., cycling

Sara Mustard

Stevie Goetz, soccer

Drew Krull, soccer

Emma Zayon, cross-country running

Maggie Whitaker, cross-country skiing

Aurora Bowers, cross-country skiing

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