A Maine cross country runner who competed last year in the Western Maine Conference (WMC) Boys Cross Country meets is now regularly beating female competitors after transitioning into a girl.
The transgender athlete also just so happens to have a father who is the Director of Clinical Ethics at Maine Medical Center, which prescribes sex change hormones and puberty blockers to minors through the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital’s “Gender Clinic“, and a mother who is a feminist ethics professor at Bates College.
Soren Stark-Chessa, a sophomore at the Maine Coast Waldorf school in Freeport, last weekend took fifth place in the girls category at the Maine XC Festival of Champions in Belfast.
At the same competition last year — competing as a boy — Stark-Chessa was 206th place.
Dr. Frank Chessa, the transgender runner’s father, is the Director of Clinical Ethics at Maine Medical Center, and also serves as an assistant professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine, where he helps oversee courses on ethics.
Dr. Chessa also received masters and doctoral degrees in philosophy, and regularly presents at national conferences on topics related to medical ethics.
Maine Medical Center’s Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital prescribes minors puberty blockers and sex change hormones, as well as provides them with surgical consultation as part of the hospital’s “Gender Clinic.”
Chessa did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the controversy.
Stark-Chessa’s mother is Susan Stark, a professor of philosophy at Bates College with primary focuses on feminist philosophy and the ethics of race and gender.
Her biographical webpage lists the two projects she is currently working on as arguing for the “moral and social imperative of making reparations,” as well as advocating for alternative approaches to childbirth due to high maternal mortality rates in the U.S., which her biography states are “especially high for Black and brown birthing mothers.”
Some of her published work and presentations include “Overcoming a Puzzle about Inclusion and Anti-Racism,” “Taking Responsibility for Oppression: Affirmative Action and Racial Injustice,” “Reparations, COVID-19, and the Persistent Ideology of White Supremacy,” and “Why Equal Protection Requires Exclusionary Practices.”
Susan Stark is also the co-chair and co-founder of the Maine Coast Waldorf School’s “Committee on Equity and Inclusion,” and has taught electives at the school on ethics.
Stark did not immediately respond for comment on whether she, as a feminist ethicist, has any reservations about biological males competing against biological females.
Katherine Collins, a high school track mom from Winterport, went on Fox & Friends after last weekend’s race to call out the “unfairness” of Stark-Chessa competing against the female runners.
“It’s all a matter of unfairness,” Collins said. “The men are bigger, stronger and faster than women.”
“Obviously, there is an unfair advantage, but they’ve allowed this,” she explained, criticizing the Maine Principals Association (MPA) for allowing transgender athletes to compete in alignment with their gender identity.
“Last year, in outdoor track, in the Class-C state meet, two boys participated. One podiumed and was moved on to the New England track meet. So a girl was put aside and not allowed to medal and not allowed to participate in a higher level because of this boy,” Collins said.
The MPA policy states 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.”
The athletics director at Stark-Chessa’s school, Susan Sonntag, has said that the school adheres to Maine law prohibiting “Unlawful educational discrimination,” per the Daily Mail.
“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 said.
A bill that would have banned students who aren’t female from participating in women’s and girl’s sports in Maine failed to pass the Democrat-controlled legislature in June.