An Alaska teenager captured national attention after becoming the first transgender athlete to compete individually for a high school state championship on May 27.
Haines High School senior Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot, 18, qualified, competed and even landed a few wins, The Blaze reports.
Wangyot, who was born male but identifies as female, came in third and fifth place for the 200- and 100-meter dash, respectively.
The teen said she decided to run to set an example for other athletic transgender students, USA Today reports.
But the incident sparked controversy, with many feeling it is unfair a biological male should be allowed to compete in female team.
"We are here today as a voice from the community to ensure that female athletes are not denied the playing opportunities and scholarships otherwise available to them and to make the playing field even again," Jim Minnery, president of the conservative group Alaska Family Action, said. "Allowing students to play on teams of the opposite sex disproportionately impacts female students, who will lose spots on a track, soccer and volleyball teams to male students who identify as female."
Conservatives aren’t the only ones who objected to Wangyot’s participation. Fellow athlete and competitor Saskia Harrison said it was unfair.
“I’m glad that this person is comfortable with who they are and they’re able to be happy with who they are,” she said. "But competitively I don’t think it’s completely 100 percent fair.”
Alaska Dispatch News reports Peyton Young, who won the Class 4A girls 3,200-meter race, said, “Genetically a guy has more muscle mass than a girl ... and if he’s racing against a girl, he may have an advantage.”
However, Wangyot responded to the claims explaining she takes female hormones suppress the testosterone that may give her an advantage.
“The people who are going to think, ‘It’s not fair to play with the boys’ — well, you don’t know that. It’s not easy,” she said. “It’s not like I wake up and ‘OK, I’m a girl right now.'”
Some of the other athletes who competed with Wangyot agree and fully support her.
"It's cool she's got the confidence to be here," Kaleb Korta said.