This is our letter to the Minnesota State High School League.
September 30, 2014
Board of Directors
Minnesota State High School League
2100 Freeway Boulevard
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430-1735
Dear Board Members,
Minnesota citizens are just beginning to learn about the MSHSL’s draft policy under consideration by your Board regarding transgender students’ participation in high school athletics according to their gender choice rather than actual gender.
Child Protection League Action is appalled that this proposal has made its way so far within your organization as to be seriously presented to the public and actually be considered for adoption. We are stunned at the MSHSL’s abuse of power and policymaking granted to you under MN §128c.01 Subd.2., whereby the governing board of a high school may “delegate its control of extracurricular activities to the league…spend money for, and pay dues to, the league.”
It is one thing for the “MSHSL to allow participation for all students regardless of their gender identity or expression” as the first line of your proposed policy states. We would agree with that policy. However, that is not the underlying assumption of the proposed policy, and it is grossly unfair to mislead the public in this regard. The true underlying assumption of your proposed policy is that gender is a matter of choice and not biology, which is absurd.
You have even gone so far as to use Title IX as your authority to establish such an overreaching policy. Title IX is remarkably clear in prohibiting sex discrimination within educational institutions, and that “sex” means biological gender. A student can transgender from one sex to another, but there are still only two “sexes.” Title IX addresses only the “imbalance” between the treatment of the two genders of “boys and girls” – as groups in general. It does not address balancing out the individual mental gender identity preferences of individuals. To scare school districts into thinking that they will be out of compliance with Title IX if they do not comply with this policy is reprehensible.
In strictly practical terms, nothing in this draft requires schools to separate men from women in showers, bathroom facilities, locker rooms or hotel rooms. In fact, the first draft of this policy states, “transgender students should not be required to use separate facilities.” While that language has been changed in the later draft, the new language vaguely describes that the schools are to ensure “reasonable and appropriate restroom and locker room accessibility for students.” What is “reasonable” and “appropriate?” Most importantly, who will decide, and how will that decision be made? The policy contains no avenue of appealing decisions made regarding accommodations.
It is one thing to intimidate school districts, but the trauma that this will cause to our children, through the blatant privacy violations of the non-trans student is alarming. There are issues of obvious unfairness concerning mixed gender competition and athletes losing positions to a member of the opposite sex after years of practice and training. But we are shocked that this proposal intends to impose on all students and families, statewide–public, private, religious and home schools—the radical idea that gender is a choice, not biology. If implemented, it will put our children at great physical, emotional, and psychological risk.
The transgender athlete, in contrast, has four separate levels of appeal if his or her determination is denied by the school. The final judgment will rest with a single individual appointed by the Executive Director of the MSHSL Board of Directors. Who is this individual? On what basis will he/she be chosen? What qualifications will he/she have? The determination process is unprofessional at best, and cannot inspire the confidence of families or the public.
In MN, there is nothing that prevents a transgendered student to participate in any sport with their biological gender. In fact, they cannot be discriminated against if they want to play with their biological counterparts while dressing like the opposite gender. That would be stereotyping.
Minnesota enjoys a robust, competitive, and highly admired sports program, for which we recognize the MSHSL as having played a huge role. But what you are asking Minnesota parents to do is allow transgendered students something that other students do not have, and that is the flexibility to play on either team. That is taking it too far.
CPLAction works to protect children from exploitation, indoctrination and violence. We strongly urge you to reject this measure.
Renée T. Doyle,