MSHSL Decision

High School League agrees to transgender policy for the 2015-16 school year

Cassidy Adamson

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On Thursday, December 4, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) agreed to the policy allowing transgender students to participate in a girl’s sport. Girls can already participate in boys’ sports according to the state law.
“At this time, it really has no effect. I don’t think we have any transgender students in our school at this time (involved in sports) and if we do, there is a clear policy by the state high school league,” said Activities Director, Jeff Fink.
This new policy is set to start at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.
“I think in the beginning stages there is going to be a lot of push-back from people who just aren’t quite ready for this,” said counselor, Tammy Sworsky, “We have to make this normal because it is.”
In order for a transgender student to participate in a girl’s sport, they must complete specific tasks.
The school has to be notified in writing by the student and the student’s parents or legal guardians that the student has a consistent gender identity.
Students will need to submit their current transcript, school information, and any additional important information. They will also need letters from friends, family, and health-care providers to confirm gender.
There will then be a hearing in front of the Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors. The schools will then decide whether a transgender student can participate on a girls’ team if they follow the MSHSL policy.
GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance) meets on Fridays every week and students have four counselors available for support.
“We try to make the environment in our schools accepting as possible,” said Sworsky.
Fink is not worried about this new policy.
“We make accommodations for students all the time,” he said. “When we had female wrestlers or female football players, we had to put them in a separate locker room.”
There have been questions about where the transgender students go to the bathroom or what locker room they change in.
“A lot of time we offer up the nurses office as a bathroom option,” said Sworsky, “But I don’t know if we have a solution for that yet.
The names of the transgender students using this policy will be kept private.
“Our job is to provide for the well being and safety of all students involved,” said Fink, “And so we would never put anyone in an uncomfortable position.”
“It’s going to let these kids identify with who they really are and I think that everyone should be allowed to do that,” said Sworsky.