The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has drafted a Policy regarding the participation of transgender students in high school athletics. (To view the latest draft of the MSHSL Transgender Students Policy, please CLICK HERE.)
All students should be allowed to participate in extracurricular athletic programs and should be able to do so in a way that does not jeopardize their personal privacy rights, safety, or well-being, or in a way that jeopardizes the values and institutional integrity of MSHSL member schools.
On Thursday, December 4, 2014, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) passed a Transgender Student Policy, which will have the main effect of allowing boys who identify as girls to play on girls’ athletic teams. The Minnesota Catholic Conference opposed the policy as imprudent, and one that will not serve the well-being of those students experiencing gender dysphoria.
After numerous drafts of the Policy, the MSHSL Board approved an appeals process that allows a student who requests to play on a team of the opposite sex, and is denied that request, to be awarded an opportunity to appeal to the MSHSL, which will then appoint a hearing officer to review their case.
The MSHSL has indicated that private, religious schools are exempt from the Policy, which goes into effect in the 2015-16 school year. Yet, the scope of the exemption of religious schools remains unclear and requires further development in the coming months by MSHSL. Many other remaining issues will also need to be addressed as students who identify as transgender come forward. For instance, the integration of restroom and changing facilities is a major point of contention that will need to be clarified through further MSHSL policy development, as well as the matter of protecting the privacy rights of those who do not feel secure using facilities with persons of the opposite sex.
MCC will continue to monitor the Policy’s development and intervene when necessary to help protect the rights of schools and students.