Despite public outcry, MSHSL passes transgender student athlete policy
Minneapolis--Today, despite public outcry against their transgender student athlete policy, the Minnesota State High School League Board passed the latest version of their measure at a packed meeting.
The policy will basically permit a biological male student to compete on female teams after going through the League's appeals process asserting that the student's "gender identity" is different from that of the student's birth sex.This will almost certainly lead to biological male students also using the female showers, locker rooms, restrooms, hotel rooms, etc. with his team, since he identifies as female.
Today, Minnesota Family Council, among many others, testified before the League Board, explaining how the transgender policy violates students' basic privacy rights, discriminates against girls who have been granted the right to female-only teams under state statutes and who have protections for equal opportunity under Title IX, creates an unfair competitive advantage for female teams with biological male participants over all-female teams, and violates the religious freedom rights of at minimum independent religious schools (who are not exempted under the policy).
The League has ignored these concerns since they were first raised in July.
Instead, the League passed the latest draft of the policy, the eighth draft that has been made public since July, that was just brought forward today (and differed from the draft that had been brought forward the day before) with little discussion.
Autumn Leva, Dir. of Policy and Communications for Minnesota Family Council pointed out at the meeting: "At the October board meeting when this policy was tabled, many board members expressed significant concern over the lack of a chance for the schools to review and weigh in on language for this policy that was brand new.Where we sit today is no different. How can your schools have had a real chance to review this language and weigh in fairly on a controversial policy that will absolutely affect them when the language continues to change, with the latest two versions of this policy just being presented within the last 24 hours?"
At the meeting, Minnesota Family Council (MFC) also presented a petition on behalf of over 5700 Minnesotans, as well as many private and public schools, stating that they oppose the League's "transgender policy" and instead would support a proposal clarifying that students should participate on teams that correspond with their birth sex for the purpose of League activities (with the exception that already exists in state law for girls to play on boys' teams). MFC encouraged the League to give fair consideration to this proposal, suggesting that the League allow Athletic Directors the opportunity to compare both the League's and MFC's proposal--and select the fairest, most workable solution.
The League ignored the strongly-backed proposal, refusing to even have a Board discussion about the alternative measure.
John Helmberger, CEO for Minnesota Family Council, responded to the Board's decision: "Today, the very entity that we've entrusted with protecting a safe and fair playing field for our kids has betrayed the trust we've placed in them as grandparents, parents, student athletes, and schools. Nothing about the policy they've passed is safe or fair for our student athletes, or our schools. The Board has disenfranchised thousands of Minnesotans and their schools who asked that their valid, enforceable, and fair alternative measure be considered by this Board, and placed the effects of dealing with this policy onto the backs of our local schools."
Ultimately, the League Board voted to pass the latest version of their "transgender policy," with only one Board member, Emmett Keenan of St. Cloud Cathedral High School, voting "no" and one Board member, Paul McDonald from Ely, abstaining.