Track coach says he was fired over his concerns about transgender athletes

The track and field coach at an Oregon high school alleges he was fired after he sent letters expressing concern about biological males competing against girls.

John Parks, who was head coach for…

The track and field coach at an Oregon high school alleges he was fired after he sent letters expressing concern about biological males competing against girls.

John Parks, who was head coach for Lake Oswego High School Track and Field, says the district fired him after he wrote letters to Peter Weber, executive director of the Oregon Student Activities Association (OSAA), reports local KATU ABC News 2.

He also sent similar letters to Oregon state Senate President Sen. Rob Wagner, who previously served as chair of the Lake Oswego Board of Education.

Parks’ letters suggested the OSAA adopt the same hormone testing rules that recently were approved by the International Olympic Committee.

“The OSAA competition rules need to be aligned with what the rest of the world competes under,” Parks reportedly wrote Wagner.

Parks said he had several transgender athletes on his team and supports them competing, but they should have a division that is separate from biological females.   

“My proposal to encourage transgender participation is to offer an open division that is so named so it doesn’t identify or discriminate but offers an opportunity to participate,” he wrote.  

Parks says he was particularly distressed in May, when the audience booed the participation of a transgender athlete at the state’s track and field championship. “I want them to be able to participate where they’re not ‘booed,” he told KATU. 

Those boos were captured on video and posted to X (formerly Twitter) by noted women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines.  

“Another proud moment for women’s sports! Aayden Gallagher (male) just placed 1st in the Oregon state championship in the women’s 200m after placing 2nd in the 400m. Just listen to the audible BOOS. People are over this…& it’s about time,” wrote Gaines.  

Gaines, who was a competitive college swimmer, rose to prominence after protesting the inclusion of Lia Thomas, who is a biological male, in NCAA-sanctioned swim meets.  

The Lake Oswego School District refused to comment in depth on Parks’ dismissal, simply noting the coach is no longer employed by the district.  

“We do not discuss personnel matters,” Mary Kay Larson, district director of communications, said in a statement, according to Fox News.  

Parks appeared on TV a month ago, talking with KOIN News 6 about the Lake Oswego High School track team, which has emerged as a sprinting “powerhouse” in both the male and female divisions.  

“Most of the schools we’re racing against have three to four times the school population that we have. The kids get excited by it because they know we’re not expected to be this sprint powerhouse,” Parks told KOIN.  

Aayden Gallagher placed second to Lake Oswego female Josie Donelson in the 400-meter race at the Oregon state track and field championship in May.  

According to the OSAA rules handbook, the “OSAA endeavors to allow students to participate for the athletic or activity program of their consistently asserted gender identity while providing a fair and safe environment for all students.” The OSAA rules on transgender participation were adopted in 2019. 

Parks said he is going to fight the dismissal with an appeal but will also continue to fight for girls in sports.  

“I’m going to fight now because I got wronged.” Parks told KATU, adding he is “fighting for girls, I’m fighting for female sports, and I’m fighting that it be fair for everybody.”