The state board overseeing high school sports in Minnesota voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to permit male-to-female transgender students to participate in girls sports.
After an aborted attempt earlier this year to institute controversial new “inclusive” rules for transgender players in high school athletics, the Minnesota State High School League voted 18-1 with one abstention to endorse males identifying as females to play girls sports.
In October, the Minnesota State High School League’s board of directors voted to table the policy discussion in order to give its 500-plus members more time to give feedback on the ideas. The first time the school league gathered to consider the vote it caused a firestorm of controversy. That criticism is why the board voted to postpone consideration of the rules until now.
“The proposal,” Twincities.com reported, “which has had numerous revisions over the past year, is streamlined into three categories to help member schools with eligibility determinations: transgender person, gender identity and gender expression. The policy will exist for all MSHSL member schools, but some exemptions within Minnesota statutes exist for private schools with religious affiliations.”
“Part of what the league has been saying is that they need to provide guidance to have a transgender student-athlete play a sport opposite of their given sex,” Autumn Leva, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Family Council told the paper. “We think that is a fair point. We just want to see some clarity without raising some of the privacy issues, religious freedom issues and the safety concerns that this policy raises. We have had a lot of good reception from public and nonpublic schools saying this is the preferred solution.”
“It has been exhausting,” board President Scott McCready said. “I’m pleased with the input we have received from everyone on both sides. People are passionate about it. We believe we have been open about it and transparent for over a year.”
Indeed, passions on the issue are intense. After the board had announced that it was considering the transgender rules, those opposing the rules protested before the board and some even took out (see MNCPL ad in the above graphic) print ads in the Star Tribune newspaper to alert the public that such rules were being considered.
But passions weren’t only inflamed from the opposition. In response to the ads, one ESPN writer who supported the rules told the Huffington Post that the newspaper ads taken out by opponents of the new transgender rules were just like ads for Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
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