(NewsNation) — Two transgender female high school athletes in California were no-shows for their race at Friday’s California State Preliminary Track and Field Championship, citing concerns for their “well-being.”
According to The Los Angeles Times, Athena Ryan and Lorelei Barrett — who are from different schools — were scheduled to participate in the girl’s 1,600-meter run at Buchanan High in Clovis, California.
Recently, Ryan’s qualifying performance was met with criticism from anti-transgender activists. According to KATV-TV, members of WomenAreReal claim they were removed from attendance by security for holding a “Protect Female Sports” banner.
In a statement to The Los Angeles Times, The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) lamented the students’ concerns.
“The CIF is disappointed for two of our student-athletes and their families because due to the actions of others, they found it necessary to withdraw from the State Track and Field Championships out of concern for the student’s well being.”
Transgender high school athletes have come under fire recently amid a wave of legislation targeting those who identify as a different gender.
At least 17 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors, though judges have temporarily blocked their enforcement in some, including Arkansas. An Associated Press analysis found that often those bills sprang not from grassroots or constituent demand, but from the pens of a handful of conservative interest groups.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.