Minnesota High School athletes may see a dramatic change in the way male and female sports are differentiated from one another, effectively allowing student athletes to choose whether they are playing a male sport or a female sport. The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) is currently scheduled to vote on a proposed amendment to current policy within Minnesota high school sports that would allow student athletes to choose with team they play on based on which gender they identify as, rather than the gender they are medically described as being.
The proposed amendment to current MSHSL policy’s main state goals are as follows:
The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) allows participation for all students regardless of their gender identity or expression. This information is designed to guide member school personnel as they create an environment free from discrimination and provide an equal opportunity for participation in athletics as identified in most local, state and federal rules and regulations.
Local Minnesota activist groups are expressing their opinions that the current draft’s goals are broadly-defined and would ultimately allow for students to simply “choose” whether they want to be on a female or male sports team. One of the most notable of these groups is the Child Protection League Action (CPL) who have launched an ad campaign painting shocking scenarios to draw opposition to the proposed amendment.
Among their concerns is the draft’s accommodation for gender identity, which is a person’s “private sense, and subjective experience, of their own gender,” or in other words, what gender a student identifies as. Under the proposed amendment to policy Minnesota high school students would be able to choose which version of a sport, male or female, they wanted to play based on which gender they identify with, rather than which gender is on their birth certificate. As stated in the draft of the proposed amendment to policy:
If the administration of a member school is notified, in writing, by a student, the student’s parent(s)/legal guardian(s) that a student has a different gender identity than listed on the student’s school registration records or birth certificate and that the student wishes to participate in athletics in a manner consistent with their gender identity as provided by state statutes and federal law, schools must review the following as each participation determination is made.
Groups such as the CPL feel that allowing for students to choose which gender they wish to represent in their high school sports will not only blur the lines of physically-matched tiers within sports competition, but that many other troubling scenarios such as showering and team lodging accommodations will become a nightmarish new facet for parents of student athletes.
High School students are notorious for their discrimination among varying social groups, especially those groups of LGBT students. While many transgender students may be accommodated for under these new guidelines, expecting high school aged students to respectfully comply with them may be one disastrous leap of faith giving rise to many problems that aren’t currently an issue. More than likely, many students will see this as a legislative green light to sneak into the other gender’s locker room.
The vote for this draft has been postponed from it’s original date in October, and is now scheduled for the December 4 MSHSL Board of Directors meeting at 9:30am.
Images from Child Protection League Action