‘Blatant transphobia’ and boos overshadow trans high school runner’s victory she wins state title

Trans athlete Aayden Gallagher running at the Oregon state track championships.

A transgender runner in Oregon, Aayden Gallagher, faced cruel boos as she crossed the finish line during the 400m race in the state championships, overshadowing her state title win.

Aayden Gallagher, a sophomore at McDaniel High School, won gold in the 200-meter final (beating her opponent by just two-tenths of a second) and won silver in the 400-meter race, but her successes were overshadowed by hostility from people attending the event.

In a clip shared online, jeering and booing could be heard in the background as Gallagher crossed the finish line in the 200-meter final.

Aayden Gallagher (L) rests after being beaten to the 400-meter gold medal by Josie Donelson (Centre) (X)

Several sports at varying levels have now banned transgender athletes due to right-wing pressure, with many states not allowing transgender teenagers to compete in the category that aligns with their gender identity.

However, Oregon State Activities Association (OSAA) rules allows for athletes to participate in race categories that aligns with their gender identity despite Republican lawmakers in the state calling for a change to the regulations after Aayden Gallagher won in a previous 400m race.

In a letter to critics, OSAA’s executive director Peter Weber defended their trans-inclusive sports policy. He wrote: “Oregon law has long prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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In 2019, the Oregon Department of Education amended its rules that ‘sexual orientation’ was defined to include ‘gender identity’. The Oregon legislature likewise amended the definition of ‘sexual orientation’ to include ‘gender identity’.

Aayden Gallagher also faced criticism from Riley Gaines, a former NCAA swimmer who now campaigns against trans athletes in women’s sport, and from Gaines’ fans online.

Riley Gaines is currently among 16 sportswomen suing an athletics regulator the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) over its inclusion of transgender people.

Gaines misgendered Gallagher in her tweet and asked, “When will we see coaches and parents standing up to this mockery?”

Aayden Gallagher faced an “air of blatant transphobia”

Outsports reported that there was heightened security for Gallagher during the race, who escorted her off the track very quickly after the win – which led to further criticism of Aayden Gallagher for not shaking the hands of her competitors following the race.

A race attendee told Outsports: “There was extra security in place for that ceremony. But it did not take away the air of blatant transphobia that was circulating around the stadium.”

Following the win, Gaines continued to strike at Gallagher online, as did famously anti-trans X account Libs of TikTok, and a number of right-leaning publications who misgendered Gallagher when reporting on her win.

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