Outrage as Trans Athlete Crushes High School Girls’ Track Division, Critics Call for Ban


The sports world has not escaped the social justice conversations that have been happening every month around transgender rights. Transgender advocates and critics alike have made their opinions heard around the idea of transgender women in sports, and more situations have continued to arise to create a tense environment around the issue. 

Heightened Tensions Around Trans Rights

It’s not just the sports world that has seen a heightened amount of tension around transgender individuals. The issue of transgender individuals and gay rights as a whole has created a strong and significant divide between both political and ideological parties in the last several years, with the issue permeating almost every aspect of life. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Kai Medina (Mk170101)

Liberals believe that any conversation around the issue of transgender rights originates from a place of transphobia, where conservatives believe the issue originates from a place of personal protection. Each group of people have different goals when it comes to their activism, and each group thinks that they are equally right on the issue. 

Conservatives Speaking Loudly

Conservatives, in particular, have been very loud about their feelings on transgender rights. The “groomer” narrative in the last several years has created significantly fearful feelings around transgender individuals, with many conservatives believing that transgender people are pedophiles, perverts, and more. 

Source: X/RonDeSantisFL

It is this fear that has led to the wave of anti-trans legislation that has been making its way through state legislatures throughout the country. Some states, like Florida and Missouri, are leading the charge as far as anti-trans legislation, and the country has been watching as more and more extreme bills are proposed and passed, restricting the rights around transgender people’s existence. 

A Utah Bill About Transgender Students in Sports

Not all of these bills have been signed into law when they’ve made it past state legislatures, though. In Utah, a bill that would have restricted the ability of transgender students to play sports was passed by both the state House and Senate, but when it made its way to Governor Spencer Cox’s desk, he declined to sign the bill.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Maryland GovPics

Cox said that he was saddened by the passage of the bill, since it targeted such a tiny percentage of students in Utah. He said that any bill that created a sense of otherness in Utah students shouldn’t be passed, and he vetoed the bill. 

Multiple Conversations Around the Issue

Unfortunately, the Utah state legislature turned around and held a vote to override the governor’s veto. The motion passed, and the bill was signed into law without his approval, much to the disappointment of both transgender Utahns and allies alike. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Scott Catron

Utah is not the only state that has had conversations about transgender people in sports either, both professionally and on a student level. It’s a topic that has come up in almost every single U.S. state in the last several years, with some stories ending tragically, and others creating significant uproar in anti-trans and pro-trans activists alike. 

Amplified by Anti-Trans Advocates

The issue has been amplified by anti-trans advocates such as Riley Gaines, a former NCAA swimmer who tied with a transgender athlete in a finals competition back in 2022. Gaines felt slighted when Lia Thomas was able to stand with the fifth place trophy during the competition, where her trophy was merely mailed to her home. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Since this “slight,” Gaines has created a significant platform advocating against transgender women being able to compete in sports. She has spoken on the issue at multiple conservative conferences across the country, and has created a Twitter platform of nearly one million followers who all agree, and support her on the issue. 

A Media Circus 

Platforms like Gaines’ have only made it that much more of a media circus when the issues of transgender individuals in sports arise, be the situation good or bad. Recently, a story out of Oregon has caused anti-trans activists to raise the alarm. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

Aayden Gallagher, a transgender high school athlete who was competing in the girl’s division, recently secured second place in two girls’ events at a recent track meet. 

Performance in a High School Race

Anti-trans activists have come up in arms over the issue, because of Gallagher’s performance times. When comparing her times to the times of runners in the boy’s division, anti-trans activists point out that if Gallagher had been competing in the boy’s category, she would have likely finished towards the lower end of the standings. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Phil Roeder

Gallagher participated in the200-meter and 400-meter races at the Sherwood High School Need for Speed Classic in Oregon last Saturday, and footage of her outpacing the other girls in the race circulated widely on the internet over the weekend. 

Gallagher’s Rankings

Gallagher completed the 200-meter race in 25.49 seconds, and the 400-meter race in 55.61 seconds. In the girls’ division, this secured the second place ribbon, as well as a spot on the winner’s podium. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Teh Rote

However, if Gallagher had been competing in the boy’s division, she would have placed 61st out of 65 in the 200-meter race, and 46th out 48 in the 400-meter race. This type of performance is nowhere near the winner’s stand for the boy’s division, which many anti-trans advocates have pointed to as a motivation for competing in the opposite gender’s race. 

Strong Responses from Various People

Various organizations and individuals had an incredibly strong response to the issue over the weekend. Many people on Twitter expressed a strong opposition to Gallagher’s participation in the race, stating that she shouldn’t have been able to run in the competition of her identified gender.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Phil Roeder

Under current policy, the Oregon School Activities Association “endeavors to allow students to participate in the athletic or activity program of their consistently asserted gender identity while providing a fair and safe environment for all students.” This means that transgender students merely have to inform the association of their identified gender, and from that point on, they’ll be treated as that gender, including allowing them to participate in their identified gender’s sports teams. 

Words from Twitter

The response to Gallagher’s rankings were loud, and incredibly negative in many cases. Libs of Tiktok, a popular anti-trans account on X, formerly known as Twitter, said, “These high school girls just had their dreams stolen from them because the school is catering [to] the delusions of a boy who pretends to be a girl.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Eyoälha Baker

Meghan Murphy, a Canadian podcaster and author, slammed the video as “sick and disgusting.” “I want to know why his parents are allowing him to mock female athletes, why his coach is allowing him to cheat, and why these girls’ coaches and parents aren’t speaking up,” she said. 

A Response From a Parent

One mother, whose daughter participated in the 200-meter race, blasted the video as “insane.” She asked how anyone could think that it was fair, and then wrote that athletes came across Oregon to compete, only to be “beaten by a boy.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons/vidwad

She continued on to say that Gallagher’s results would likely propel her to the state competition, where she “will beat all the girls (except maybe one), break records and be called a hero – for being a male who races against the girls and wins.”

A Potential Solution Proposed

The parent then went on to say that she believed that there should be a third category, where combined genders could compete to make the issue of transgender students fair. Gendered categories, in her eyes, keep things fair, and the only way that transgender athletes can compete fairly is if gender is no longer an issue. 

Source: Pexels/Andrea Picquadio

This is not the first time that this sort of solution has been proposed by anti-trans advocates. This sort of solution misses the forest for the trees, though. The question of transgender individuals in sports is not whether they are competing because they simply want to win against those who are weaker than them, but of acceptance from their peers, and those who will see them as they are. 

A Long Way to Go

This recent viral video has only served to highlight how deeply divided Americans still are on the issue of transgender rights. While some progress has been made as far as public perception, it’s clear that there is still a long way to go. 

Source: Phil Roeder

It’s unlikely there will be any significant movement on that front anytime soon. The only thing that will stop this sort of conversation around state by state regulations is federal law, and the current, heavily divided Congress is much more focused on other issues, leaving the states, and the transgender community, to fend for themselves.

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Tori Bright

Written by Tori Bright

Tori specializes in biographical narratives and cultural analysis. Her articles often explore the intersections of gender and society, providing insightful commentary on modern social dynamics. Tori's latest project, a biography of a forgotten 20th-century feminist icon, showcases her meticulous research skills and commitment to uncovering hidden stories. Her engaging writing style and thorough investigation make her a sought-after voice in both literary circles and wider cultural discussions.

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