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Minnesota Bill Aims to Undo HS Transgender Policy

Michael Gaio

Minnesota legislators have introduced a new bill that would undo the state high school league's controversial transgender athlete policy.

In December the Minnesota State High School League adopted a policy that allows transgender student-athletes to play on the sports teams and use the locker rooms that best align with their gender identity. For example, a female athlete who identifies as a male could play on a boy's team and use the boy's locker room.

The locker room issue in particular incensed a heated debate across the state. A group that opposed the policy even took out a full page advertisement in the Minneapolis Star Tribune to voice its opinion.

As the Fargo Forum reports, State Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, introduced the bill which says any restroom, locker room or shower "be designated for the exclusive use by students of the male sex only or by students of the female sex only."

It also specifies rules against males playing on female teams. "Students of the male sex may not try out for or participate on that team," the bill says, referring to female teams.

"I think that [the Minnesota State High School League's] message was not real clear, and confusing, and I think it was an issue that needed to be brought to the Legislature," Miller said.

Under Miller's bill, gender is strictly defined as a "physical condition," which is determined by chromosomes and "is identified at birth by a person's anatomy."

"We think it's a common-sense issue," said Sen. David Brown, R-Becker, who is sponsoring the bill in the state Senate. "The vast majority of Minnesotans who have been polled are in support of not allowing the biological sexes to be mixed in these environments."

Of course others disagree. The group Outfront Minnesota calls it an "attack" on LGBTQ Minnesotans.

"I think the bill really kind of closes its eyes to the real experience of what it means to be transgendered in our schools and how difficult that really is," Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said. "I think it just makes that so much more difficult."

It's unclear whether the House or Senate sponsors will get hearings for their bills beofre the first committee deadline on March 20.

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