For Immediate Release Contact: Michele Lentz
December 5, 2014 (888) 538-3188

Press Release: MSHSL Opens Girls’ Sports to Boys
Violates Existing Laws

In a vote that ignored clear warnings from three state legislators, a formal legal opinion from the Liberty Counsel, and a letter from the American College of Pediatricians, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) passed a policy yesterday that opens girls’ sports teams to biological males. One member of the 20-member Board dissented and one abstained.

Overflow crowd outside MSHSL board meeting opposing transgender policy.

Overflow crowd outside MSHSL board meeting opposing transgender policy.

The new policy applies only to Male to Female (MTF) transgender athletes. Under existing law, girls may try out and play on male teams. However, they compete as girls, not as Female to Male (FTM) transgender athletes. MSHSL Executive Director David Stead pointedly stated that this policy is only for the benefit of opening transgender boys who identify as girls to girls’ teams.

Anti-discrimination provisions in current law define limiting biological boys to boys’ teams as non-discriminatory. Minn. Stat. Sec 363A.23 Subd. 2, provides that “it is not an unfair discriminatory practice for an educational institution…to operate or sponsor separate athletic teams and activities for members of each sex or to restrict membership on an athletic team to participants of one sex…”

“State and federal Title IX laws are clear that limiting girls’ sports teams to girls is not discrimination,” said CPLAction State Coordinator Michele Lentz. “The MSHSL has turned those laws on their heads. They were enacted specifically to protect and promote girls’ sports.”

State Representative Peggy Scott, Senator Warren Limmer, and Senator Paul Gazelka testified against adopting the policy, citing its conflict with existing law, and urging the Board to leave changing the law to the legislature. Senator Limmer is a former Chair and current Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

More of opposition to transgender policy who couldn't fit into the Board Room.

More of opposition to transgender policy who couldn’t fit into the Board Room.

“Treating boys who feel like girls as if they are girls and treating boys who feel like boys as if they are boys is irrational,” said Lentz.

“Aside from violating the law, this policy is an aggressive and hostile act against Minnesota’s children, families and the public, violating every principle of human biology and reason. This policy,” she continued “has nothing to do with what is best for Minnesota children, transgender or not. The MSHSL has chosen to be complicit in a nation-wide design to quickly impose a false interpretation of the anti-discrimination laws upon us, dishonestly insisting this is what the law requires, and to do it as fast as possible, before public resistance can grow.”

According to Lentz’s testimony, presenting the transgender policy as a legal mandate comes straight from the federal Office of Civil Rights under the Obama administration. By Mr. Stead’s own admission, he has been pressured and coached by them.

Contrary to a media statement by MSHSL President McCready yesterday in which he stated that “the measure amounts to a mandatory policy for schools,” what was passed yesterday is guidance, not a mandate. Even the MSHSL Meeting Synopsis describes it this way:

CPLAction: protecting children.

CPLAction: protecting children.

“League member schools will now have some guidance [our emphasis] from the Board on determining the eligibility of transgender male-to-female (MTF) students to participate in gender-specific athletic programs. Effective with the 2015-16 school year, member schools are encouraged [our emphasis] to base such MTF eligibility decisions on the criteria the Board approved.”

McCready wants schools to believe that they are mandated to allow transgender male-to-female athletes to compete on the team of their gender identity. CPLAction vehemently disagrees. While the policy intentionally does not state it, schools cannot lose their MSHSL membership by not following this guidance.

“We strongly advise schools not to adopt the MSHSL criteria or insert it to their handbooks,” stated Lentz. “We urge them to comply with the law that protects girls’ sports and that also respects the physical privacy of both boys and girls, privacy which will inevitably be compromised by adopting the MSHSL view of the law. Let transgender students appeal to the MSHSL as this policy establishes, and let the MSHSL be fully liable for the legal and judicial consequences that are soon to come. The MSHSL does not have the authority to overrule state law.”