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 1,600-meter event in the junior category.
By finishing in the top three, the transgender woman has secured her ticket to participate in the California Interscholastic Federation athletic tournaments, next week.
However, Sonoma Academy sprinter Adeline Johnson, who finished fourth, reportedly responded by showing her thumbs down during the top three ceremony. The video of the incident has been viewed by more than a million people, according to what he reported New York Postafter being shared by the Independent Council for Women’s Sport.
At the edge of the athletics track, protesters were seen holding signs reading “Protect Women’s Sports”, before clashing with stadium security and being driven off the field. “They are kicking us out because we care about women and girls,” one protester said in a video as the group was escorted out of the square.
“It’s really disgusting to see this,” another protester says, in another video.
On social media, a former track and field winner said he was “embarrassed” by California.
“As a former California state high jump champion, I think this is complete and utter nonsense. I feel embarrassed for our state and sorry for the girls who got cheated in the process,” Darren Marble wrote on Twitter.
For her part, the main interested party, Athena Ryan, just wanted to “have fun” next week, during the California State Championships.
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) amended its rules for participation, in 2013, to include gender diversity, stating that “All students shall have the opportunity to participate in CIF sports and activities in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
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