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Oklahoma, South Dakota Revisit Transgender Policies

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors approved a policy related to the eligibility of transgender student-athletes, which will go into effect on July 1.

The policy allows athletic eligibility of transgender student-athletes based on certain guidelines that focus on medical therapy from a licensed physician.

According to the OSSAA assistant director Amy Cassell, “Mostly, we want to be sure that there aren’t limitations opposed on any student-athletes that are unnecessary. What we were looking to do is provide some guidelines so that schools have a template to go by to determine what gender the student-athlete should participate with.”

RELATED: New Transgender Athlete Policies Approved in Minn., Va. 

The policy is controversial because it requires male-to-female students to complete at least one year of hormone therapy before they would be allowed to play on girls teams, a practice deemed discriminatory by  www.transathlete.com.

Cassell said about this requirement, “The main concern is competitive balance. Generally, a male is going to be bigger, faster, stronger than a female, so we wanted to be sure that students that were transgender male to female did not do anything to compromise that competitive balance on the female side.”

The Federal Office of Civil Rights stated in 2014 that Title IX covers discrimination against transgender students in schools. Employees of schools are accountable for making sure that students are safe and included in all school-sponsored activities.

RELATED: High School Administrators Move Ahead with Policies for Transgender Student-Athletes

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, proposed changes to the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s policy on transgender high school athletes would not limit them to the same team as the sex that is listed on their birth certificates.

The policy aims to let transgender students play on the sports team that reflects their gender identity and gives schools the framework for helping transgender students apply to the Activities Associations with the correct documentation. An independent hearing officer would then make a recommendation to the Activities Association Board of Directors, which would have the final say over the student’s request.

The policy could be adopted in August, but it is expected that there will be a significant amount of opposition to the policy changes.

So far there haven’t been any students who have applied under the policy.

RELATED: New Report Urges Transgender Student-Athlete Policies

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