Athletic Directors: Catholic School Sports, Students Harmed by Policies Embracing Gender Ideology

(by Adam Cassandra, The Cardinal Newman Society)

Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), told the Newman Society, there is still some uncertainty about a similar gender identity policy for students in Minnesota that went into effect during the 2015-2016 school year.

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) passed a transgender student athlete policy in December 2014, which has “the main effect of allowing boys who identify as girls to play on girls’ athletic teams,” according to the MCC. “The Minnesota Catholic Conference opposed the policy as imprudent, and one that will not serve the well-being of those students experiencing gender dysphoria.”

In testimony given during an MSHSL hearing on the policy, Adkins said, “Our firm position is that a policy, such as this one, that rejects the reality that we are created male and female, and thus, by extension, rejects the Creator and his creation, is both harmful to the persons it is designed to support, as well as to all of society, by promoting a worldview that imposes a barrier to human flourishing.

“Compassion is not permissiveness,” he added. “True love and compassion sometimes means saying no to harmful things that people want to do to themselves.”

“Early draft versions of the policy applied to all MSHSL member schools,” Adkins told the Newman Society. “After numerous draft policies, the MSHSL ultimately exempted nonpublic schools from the mandates of the policy (both verbally and in writing).” But Adkins said the exemption “is admittedly not as clear as it should be.”

Adkins said it’s the MCC’s position that a religiously-affiliated school will not be penalized by the MSHSL for having policies such as:

  • Not admitting transgender students into the student body.
  • Mandating that student extracurricular and athletic participation be conducted consistent with one’s biological sex at birth, rather than preferred gender identity.
  • Refusing to allow biological boys from entering girls’ facilities and vice versa (even if these students are from a different school).

“We have not heard of any further developments or clarifications of the policy, and continue to closely monitor any challenges or problems that may arise due to the current policy’s implementation,” Adkins said. “Thus far, our understanding is that Catholic schools have not been affected.”

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