A proposed policy change in Minnesota high school athletics regarding transgender student-athletes has fired up a heated debate across the state.
The Minnesota State High School League will consider a policy on Wednesday that would allow transgender athletes to play sports based on their gender identity, not their gender of birth. As Minnesota news site BringMeTheNews writes: "For example, a female athlete who identifies as a male could play on a boy's team and use the boys' locker room."
It's that last part that isn't sitting well with some Minnesotans. The Minnesota Child Protection League opposes the policy, telling KARE 11, "We're concerned about protecting children." The group went so far as to take out this full-page ad in Sunday's Star Tribune:
Full-page People Against Transgendered People ad in Strib sports section. Mankato-based Child Protection LeagueAction pic.twitter.com/JuWhzK5W0C— David Brauer (@dbrauer) September 28, 2014
Religious groups are also concerned about the policy and the fact there is no exemption for faith-based schools.
"Unfortunately, the Minnesota High School League has not invited us to the table, nor have they invited other concerned parties," Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, told KARE 11.
Supporters of the policy say it's about equality.
Roxanne Anderson, associate director for trans organizing at Out Front Minnesota, helped draft the policy and says this rule change is about ensuring equal access to high school sports.
According to the policy, transgender high school students can play on the team of their choice (male or female) but have to have documentation from a physician to identify themselves as transgender, and provide information about any treatment they’re undergoing to change their gender.
The policy’s section on facilities states that a transgender athlete should use the locker room, shower and toilet facilities for the student’s gender identity, and that whenever possible, every locker room should have private areas for any athlete who would like to use them.
The MSHSL will discuss the change on Wednesday and vote on the issue on Thursday.