Oregon schools uphold rule allowing boys, men to compete against women in school athletics despite backlash

This comes after 12 Republican state lawmakers issued a letter to the association asking it to revoke its policy, citing unfairness and safety concerns.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
The Oregon School Activities Association has upheld its policy of allowing biological boys who identify as transgender to compete against female student-athletes in high school sporting events.

This comes after 12 Republican state lawmakers issued a letter to the association asking it to revoke its policy, citing unfairness and safety concerns.

The OSAA said that they are abiding by state laws that prohibit "discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation" which includes someone's "gender identity." Therefore, the association explained it would not change its policy and transgender athletes are allowed to participate in sporting events that affirm their gender identity, per KATU Portland.

"Oregon law has long prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (ORS Chapter 659A). In 2019, the Oregon Department of Education amended its rules to provide that 'sexual orientation' was defined as including 'gender identity.' OAR 581-021-0045(1)(c). The Oregon Legislature likewise modified the definition of 'sexual orientation' to include 'gender identity.' In response, just over five years ago, the OSAA worked with the Oregon Department of Education to create a policy that was consistent with these legal protections given to students related to their gender identity, to help our member schools be in compliance with all legal requirements," the association said in a letter to the lawmakers.

The 12 female members of the Oregon House and Senate Republican Caucuses wrote to Peter Weber, the executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), on Tuesday, pleading with the organization's board of directors to act immediately to safeguard the equal rights of female athletes in high school and to ban transgender competitors from female competitions.

The letter came in response to a viral video that surfaced on social media over the weekend which showed a trans-identified biological boy dominating female competitors in an Oregon school track meet, placing first in the heat and second overall.

"Sadly, this policy has precisely the opposite of its stated effect. Instead of promoting harmony, it has sparked outrage," the Republican group's letter states. "Instead of ensuring fair competition, a biological male has found a place in the female sports record books. Any girls' title held by a male is not a girls' title at all."

"This policy leads us to conclude that the OSAA and the State of Oregon do not deem girls and girls’ sports worthy of protecting and that the records they set are not meaningful. Additionally, this policy creates opportunities for male students who are unable to compete at the highest levels against their male peers to compete instead in female sports and break records that are rightfully held by girls," the letter continues.

"We hope that you can provide a solution to the families seeking answers about why the OSAA doesn’t feel girls’ sports should be a safe space for biological females to compete and succeed," it concludes.

Republican rep. Christine Goodwin told KATU: "Biological males have a very clear advantage. You have to be blind not to see that."
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