A victory for a transgender athlete sows controversy in California

Victory for transgender athlete sparks controversy in California


A transgender athlete's second place finish in a California high school track and field competition sparked controversy on Saturday.

Athena Ryan of Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco, won the silver medal in the women's race over a distance of 1600 meters in the “junior” category.

By finishing in the top three, the transgender woman earned her ticket to compete in the California Interscholastic Federation Athletics Championships next week.

However, top Sonoma Academy athlete Adeline Johnson, who finished fourth, reportedly reacted by showing her thumbs down during the ceremony for the top three. Video of the incident has reportedly been viewed more than a million times, according to the New York Post, after being shared by Independent Council on Women's Sport.

“I am embarrassed »

At the edge of the athletics track, protesters were seen holding signs reading “Protect Women’s Sports”, before clashing with stadium security and being ejected from the field. “They're kicking us out because we care about women and girls,” one protester said in a video, as the group was escorted off the pitch.

“It's really disgusting to see this exclaimed another protester, in another video.

On social networks, a former athletics winner said he was “embarrassed” for California.

“In As a former California State high jump champion, I think that's complete and utter nonsense. I'm embarrassed for our state and I'm sorry for the girls who were cheated in the process,” Darren Marble wrote on Twitter.

For her part, the principal concerned, Athena Ryan, only wanted to “have fun” next week at the California State Championship.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) changed its rules of participation, in 2013, to include diversity gender, stating that “all students should have the opportunity to participate in CIF sports and activities in a manner consistent with their gender identity.”