Transgender Maine Girls’ Track Athlete Wins State Championship

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A male won a high school girls’ outdoor track and field state championship this weekend in Maine.

Soren Stark-Chessa, a sophomore at Maine Coast Waldorf School, is a male who identifies as a transgender girl. Maine Coast Waldorf (Freeport, Maine) co-ops with North Yarmouth Academy (Yarmouth, Maine) in girls’ outdoor track, another private school.

Stark-Chessa won the 800-meter (2:19.72) at the Maine Principals’ Association Class C  girls’ outdoor track and field state championship on Saturday, June 1, according to MileSplit. The event took place at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine. Stark-Chessa’s winning time was 10.12 seconds faster than the second-place finisher:  Houlton High junior Natalie Johnson (2:29.84).

The Portland Press-HeraldBangor Daily News, and also reported on Stark-Chessa’s victory, but did not mention the athlete’s transgender status in their reports.

Stark-Chessa is new to competing on the girls’ side this year. As a freshman during the 2022-2023 school year, Stark-Chessa competed on the boys’ side in track, cross country, and Nordic skiing.

Waldorf School athletic director Susan Sonntag has defended Stark-Chessa’s participation on the girls’ team.

“We support all our students at Maine Coast Waldorf School, and are proud that our students are given the opportunity to participate in all of our school programs,” Sonntag told NewBostonPost in an email statement on October 25, 2023. “Additionally, MCWS adheres to the Maine Statute, Title 5, §4602 ‘Unlawful educational discrimination’ which is further supported by Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) policy.”

The Maine Principals’ Association lets student-athletes participate on teams based on their self-selected gender identity, according to the Gender Equity and Inclusion Policy in its 2022-23 handbook.

“The MPA is committed to maximizing the opportunities for all students to participate in interscholastic activities and athletics, regardless of their gender identity or expression,” the policy says.

“At the same time, the MPA is committed to ensuring fair competition and adequate protection of student athletes,” the policy continues. “Consistent with its principles, the MPA believes that all students should have the opportunity to participate in MPA activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, unless such participation would result in an unfair athletic advantage or would present an unacceptable risk of injury to other student athletes.”

Maine conservative activist Shawn McBreairty was the person first to report on Stark-Chessa’s transgender status.

Maine Coast Waldorf is a small private school in Freeport, Maine; it serves 268 students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Freeport, Maine is a town of about 8,800 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is about 17 miles northeast of Portland.

Sonntag could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday.


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