MSHSL Transgender Policy


What is Minnesota State High School League's "Transgender Policy"?

On December 4, 2014, MN State High School League (MSHSL) passed a "transgender student athlete policy." 

Thanks to your many calls, emails, and letters to MSHSL, the policy they passed was MUCH milder than the version they originally intended to pass. However, as with any transgender policy, the version they passed remains extremely problematic.

The policy passed by MSHSL had NO opportunity to be vetted on by the public before it was voted on by the MSHSL Board. Instead, the Board's Executive Director presented brand new language on December 4, 2014 and urged the Board to pass it, which they did. No members of the public had a chance to even read the policy before it was passed. 

 

The transgender policy does not go into effect until Fall 2015.

CLICK HERE to read the actual language of the policy. 

 

Here's the legal analysis for how this "transgender policy" actually works:

  • Girls can already try out for boys' teams in MN (although they are playing AS girls, not girls who self-identify as boys), so MSHSL focused their policy only on boys who self-identify as girls and want to play AS girls on girls' teams.
     
  • So, the first step is, a biological boy who self-identifies as a girl, and his parent, must contact the school in writing about the student's gender identity and desire to compete as a girl.
     
  • If the school believes that they will be guilty of discrimination or overturned by MSHSL regardless and grants the male student's request, then the process is complete.
     
  • If the school doesn't grant the male student's request, the next step is for the male student to appeal to MSHSL with his request to play as a girl. He basically has to submit only written statements from parents, friends, and a therapist willing to attest to his self-identification as a girl--along with his school registration and transcript.
     
  • When MSHSL receives his request, they appoint an "Independent Hearing Officer" to review the male student's request and make a decision to be reviewed by MSHSL.
     
  • Finally, MSHSL reviews the Independent Hearing Officer's decision. However, since MSHSL has made clear that they believe not granting a boy who identifies as a girl the ability to play on a girls' team as discrimination, the boy will almost certainly be granted his request by MSHSL--leaving any original decision by the student's school as irrelevant.

Legal analysis for the "transgender policy's" effect on private, religious schools:

  • For those of you wondering about private religious schools, MSHSL did finally clarify that private religious schools are exempt--but only certain types of private religious schools. Private religious schools controlled or operated by a specific church or denomination are exempt.
     
  • MSHSL did NOT specifically exempt independent religious schools.
     
  • Furthermore, MSHSL did not clarify the effect that such an exemption would have on clearly exempt religious schools. For example, will their standing in the League be affected? How will they deal with a private religious school's girls' basketball team playing against a nonexempted public school's girls' basketball team with biological male players?  Etc.

Legal analysis for the "transgender policy's" effect on bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, etc:

  •  For those of you wondering if this means that biological boys participating in athletics as girls can access girls' locker rooms, showers, bathrooms, and hotel rooms, the answer is:  Likely YES. MSHSL originally intended to require schools to allow transgender students in facilities designated for the opposite biological sex. Because of YOUR outcry against that, MSHSL removed that specific language from its "transgender policy."
     
  • However, MSHSL created the environment for this to happen. Does anyone believe that a male student permitted by MSHSL to play as a female will be ok with playing on the girls' volleyball team Thursday night but not being permitted to suit up/suit down with the girls' team, and then having to go back to using the boys' bathroom when they return to school on Friday?
     
  • Schools will receive immense pressure to permit students of the opposite biological sex in intimate areas like bathrooms--as a direct result of MSHSL's policy. The proof is in the pudding. St. Paul Public Schools is now considering a "transgender policy" they say is in direct compliance with MSHSL, and it specifically requires each school in the district to permit students in facilities (like showers, bathrooms, etc.) of the opposite biological sex if they self-identify as transgender. 

How does Minnesota State High School League's "Transgender Policy"affect my child?

If your child attends a private religious school:

  1. If your child's school is controlled or operated by a specific church or denomination, your school is exempt from the MSHSL "transgender policy." Talk to your school's officials to make sure they plan to take the exemption.
     
  2. If your child attends an independent religious school, the League has not exempted your child's school, so please read the next section below. Please also call our office to talk with our staff about other possible solutions or to be referred to legal counsel for your school:  612.789.8811
     
  3. Remember that MSHSL has not clarified what effect the exemption will have on your child's school. (Will they lose standing in the League? What happens when your female child's team plays against a public school's team with biological males on it? Etc.) Talk with your school officials about seeking clarification from the League or other potential solutions. 
     
  4. Your female child's team could end up competing against a non-exempt school's female team with biological males on it. This has obvious safety and fairness implications for your child's team. Talk with your child's school about how they plan to handle this scenario. 

If your child attends a public, private nonreligious, or private independent religious school:

  1. If your child attends an independent religious school, the League has not specifically exempted your child's school, so please talk with your school about how they intend to handle MSHSL's "transgender policy." Please also feel free to call our office to talk with our staff about other possible solutions or to be referred to legal counsel for your school:  612.789.8811
     
  2. Your child's school is not exempted. This means your daughter may be competing for a spot on girls' teams or for girls' athletic scholarships or awards against male students in her school. This may also mean your daughter may be competing on her female teams against other schools' female teams that have biological male participants. 
     
  3. Your child's school may also be considering permitting students who self-identify as transgender to use the bathrooms, locker rooms, hotel rooms, and showers of the opposite biological sex. If you have a female student, this means that your daughter may be sharing intimate facilities with a biological male. If you have a male student, that means your son may be sharing intimate facilities with a biological female student. Finally, if your student self-identifies as transgender, this may mean that if your child is biologically female, she may be sharing intimate facilities with adolescent males, and if your child is biologically male, he may be sharing intimate facilities with adolescent females.  

How did Minnesota State High School League's "Transgender Policy" come to pass here in MN?

In 2014, MSHSL began considering a "transgender policy" after receiving guidance to do so from the National Federation of State High School Associations (who receives guidance from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network).

Then, MSHSL worked directly with MN's largest LGBT activist organization, OutFront Minnesota, to develop the initial drafts of their "transgender student athlete policy." 

MSHSL worked on this policy quietly until outside groups alerted the public to what was going on. Then, the outcry was HUGE. You and thousands of others (including schools themselves) spread the word, contacted your MSHSL board members, came to the MSHSL board meetings, and more to try to help stop the policy. Your efforts helped weaken MSHSL's policy and forced the board to stall it for a time.

Regrettably, MSHSL passed their policy with only 1 "NO" vote on December 4, 2014. The policy takes effect in the Fall 2015 school year.

Helpful Background Information:

  1. Read MFC's original News Alert about MSHSL's "transgender policy": At Your Child's School
     
  2. Read MFC's Update on MSHSL's "transgender policy," which includes key questions that demonstrate how unworkable a "transgender student athlete policy" actually is:  The End of Boys' and Girls' Sports Teams in MN? 
     
  3. Read MFC's editorial piece featured in the Star Tribune responding to MSHSL's "transgender policy" and the Star Tribune's endorsement of MSHSL's policy: Transgender Sports Policy Is Anything But Fair

What can my family and I do about Minnesota State High School League's "Transgender Policy"?

1. Talk with your child's school

No matter the type of school your child attends, talk with school officials about how they plan to respond to and handle the MSHSL "transgender student athlete policy." 

Please feel free to call our office for further information or to be referred to legal counsel for your child's school:  612.789.8811

Urge your school board to pass Alliance Defending Freedom's "Student Physical Privacy Policy" to protect your child's privacy rights. Get other parents to join with you in talking to your school board!

 

2. The Christian response to transgender policies

  • CLICK HERE to check out the "Gender & Sexuality" section of our website and read "The Christian Response to Transgender Policies. "