In May, an Alaska high school student became the first transgender athlete to compete individually for a high school state championship. As TheBlaze previously reported, Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot, who was born male but identifies as female, qualified and competed in the Class 3A girls’ sprints at the Alaska state meet, taking home third place in the 200-meter dash (27.3 seconds) and fifth in the 100 (13.36 seconds).
Since the race, Wangyot’s story has made national headlines, earning the 18-year-old Haines High School athlete widespread praise for contributions to the LGBT movement.
But not everyone was celebrating the high schooler’s success. After the story was reported by KTVA-TV, Jennifer VanPelt, a mother of one of the girls who competed and lost, took to the comments section of the news station’s article.
After one commenter named Stephanie Leigh Golman Williams noted with frustration that a runner named Aurora Waclowski, who “has been top three since freshman” year, was knocked off the awards podium by a male-born runner, VanPelt clarified that it was actually her daughter, not Aurora, who was cut.
“Actually Aurora was still given an award for 4th and was able to still stand up on the awards podium. It was my daughter who finished 5th that missed out,” she wrote.
Wangyot, who goes by “Katherine Ice” on Facebook, later replied to the same thread of comments.
“If your kids have attitude and practice enough it gonna be more fun,” Wangyot wrote.
Various commenters took sides on the issue, some defending Wangyot and some empathizing with VanPelt. But instead of counting on others to settle the dispute, VanPelt shot back with a personal message for Wangyot:
If you were directing your comments towards me and my daughter I think you need to reevaluate what you said Ice. She is a phenomenal runner for a female. She happens to be the fastest female in the MatSu Valley. And she's a freshman. Obviously she is at a disadvantage to you because she was not born with the physical attributes you were as a male. It's 100% science. Men are physically different than females. Your times would not allowed you to compete with the boys at state. So don't start casting stones telling me my daughter isn't good enough. Because she is.
After seeing VanPelt’s comments, Rare News reached out to the angry mother. From Rare:
When asked how Wangyot’s participation affected her daughter, VanPelt said ‘it did not knock her out of contention, but it did take away a podium position,’ and she was adamant that her daughter had competed against a male.
"At our state track and field meet they award medals and a spot on the podium to the top 4. Allison placed 5th. We had no idea she was running against a male until after the race was over," she said. "She was upset. How do you explain to her that not only does she need to train to beat her fellow female athletes now she should also train to beat the males?"
“I believe parents and athletes alike should be worried. Transgender males being allowed to compete in female events are being afforded an unfair advantage,” VanPelt continued. “Males are physically different than females. That’s a scientific fact. Hormones and body modification cannot change that. Today it’s one transgender athlete. Tomorrow it could be half the field.”