A biologically male athlete is expected to win big at the NHIAA indoor track championship this weekend while competing against girls. And there is currently nothing anyone can do about it.
Not that Granite State Democrats want to. They’re opposing legislation to protect female athletes from male competitors. And one House Democrat dismissed concerns about the track meet as unimportant because it involves an “obscure competition.”
Kearsarge Regional High School sophomore Maelle Jacques, who competes on the Kearsarge girl’s team, has already racked up numerous first place wins competing against female athletes at other Division II schools over the past two seasons.
This season, Jacques dominated in the high jump competition and is the only athlete in the state competing in the girl’s division to break five feet. Competition among high school boys in New Hampshire has seen more than a dozen athletes break the five-foot mark this season.
Kearsarge Superintendent Winfried Feneberg released a statement declaring Jacques has the right to compete in any sport and as a member of any gender.
“Each student-athlete has the right to compete in the activity of their choice,” Feneberg said. “We believe that limiting access to any activity violates our core mission and vision, which are grounded in supporting every student and student-athlete’s right to pursue their goals and interests,”
Outspoken supporter of women’s athletics and 12-time All-American swimmer Riley Gaines responded to the Maelle Jacques story by calling out the athlete’s parents.
“How could the parents of this boy allow their son to cheat deserving women out of opportunities? And why don’t the parents of the girls stand up and say ‘no’ for their daughters?” Gaines posted on social media. “This country is full of failing, gutless mothers and fathers.”
The championship scheduled for Saturday at Plymouth State University is being held under the aegis of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association. While NHIAA Executive Director Jeffrey Collins did not respond to requests for comment, the organization is fully supportive of allowing athletes to choose their gender for the purposes of competition.
“The NHIAA is committed to providing transgender student-athletes with equal opportunities to participate in NHIAA athletic programs consistent with their gender identity,” the NHII eligibility policy states. “The NHIAA has concluded that it would be fundamentally unjust and contrary to applicable state and federal law to preclude a student from participation on a gender-specific sports team that is consistent with the public gender identity of that student for all other purposes.”
Parents could change this if they started getting involved at the local school board level, said Shannon McGinley, executive director of Cornerstone Action.
“If school boards feared their constituents more than they feared (law firm) Drummond Woodsum and leftist superintendents, in a matter of months, we could have half the school districts in the state organized into an alternative NHIAA,” McGinley said. “The solution is for parents to stop accepting cowardly excuses from school board members who ran as conservative.”
Sen. Tim Lang (R-Sanbornton) is sponsoring SB 524 to address what he sees as the basic unfairness of male athletes forcing their way into sports for girls and women. Lang’s bill requires high school and college athletes to compete in the division that matches their biological sex at birth.
“I’m a father of four kids, two of whom are girls, and I would not want my daughters bumped from a sports team because a biological male, who had a physiological advantage, chose to play on that sports team,” Lang said.
Biologically male athletes have inherent and obvious physical advantages against women and girls, he said. Medical science shows men have high bone density, more muscle mass, and even process oxygen differently than women, Lang said.
Rep. Timothy Horrigan (D-Dover) testified against SB 524 on Tuesday, arguing that “so-called ‘biological females’” did not need protection from males in their sports.
“We’re especially worried about cis women or cis girls, but this also prevents trans men from competing,” Horrigan said.
And Horrigan dismissed the case of Maelle Jacques because it involves an “obscure competition.”
“We don’t even know if she’s actually trans,” Horrigan said of Jacques, “but if she is, that’s certainly a very unfair thing [to keep her from competing]. A lot of these cases, they are pretty obscure competitions that normally sports fans wouldn’t be paying much attention to.”
Lang says his bill is not an attempt to create culture war headlines over people who suffer from gender dysphoria. He simply wants to protect women’s sports and preserve the mission of Title IX.
“This isn’t about gender; this is about biological sex,” Lang said.