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Trans HS Player Concerns Some Opposing Coaches

Jason Scott

In what The Maui News is reporting as a first for the Maui Interscholastic League, a high school volleyball game included a transgender student-athlete.

The student-athlete, who was in uniform and on the roster for Kamehameha Schools Maui, but did not enter the game, reportedly played for the KSM boys junior varsity volleyball team as a freshman in 2017. 

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association adopted a policy on transgender student-athletes in October 2017, which says in part that “A student has the right to participate in athletics in a manner consistent with the sex listed on their school records. A student whose gender identity is different than the sex listed on the student’s registration records may participate in a manner consistent with their gender identity” by either the student and/or the student’s parents notifying school officials about the discrepancy. 

The policy adds a stipulation allowing for opposing teams to challenge the eligibility of a trans athlete, which would then kick off an eligibility committee hearing — a process which brings together a panel of experts and officials to determine whether the student’s gender identity is “sincere, i.e., is not motivated by an improper purpose.”

Though the trans athlete did not participate in the volleyball game, and neither of the coaches involved in the game addressed questions about her, one MIL girls volleyball coach who spoke to The Maui News said that he was concerned.

“In my opinion, it’s very irresponsible for the league to place these young women, who are minors, in an elevated level of risk,” the coach, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive subject matter, told The Maui News. “They all sign off on an assumption of risk form for an understandable amount of risk. Now, there’s an elevated level of risk their daughters are going through and being put through without any notification to the parents at all.”

Other opposing coaches said that the MIL did not advise other schools on the situation with the transgender student-athlete prior to Tuesday’s opening night games.

An anonymous administrator for Baldwin High School, the team opposing KSM in the volleyball match, told The Maui News that they were aware of the situation before the match and had no problems with it. 

KSM won the match 25-14, 25-17, 27-25.

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