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The Minnesota State High School League is set to vote next week on whether to allow transgender high schools students to participate in athletics based on their gender identity.

The Minnesota State High School League is “a voluntary, nonprofit association of public and private schools with a history of service to Minnesota’s high school youth since 1916.” The MSHSL oversees much of the athletics in the state.

According to the policy, transgender high school students can play on the team of their choice (male or female) but have to have a physician’s documentation and in some cases must have begun hormone therapy to “preserve competitive equity.” The MSHSL policy also provides transgender students avenues for corrective action if a school district does not comply.

The new policy will be discussed in a workshop on Oct. 1 and the full MSHSL is expected to vote on the policy on Oct. 2.

Associations in Illinois, California, Maine, Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut have had similar policies for several years. Even associations in states that are considered conservative have adopted such policies including Nebraska in 2012, and North Carolina and Virginia in 2014. Minnesota’s neighbors to the south and west have also approved of the policies. Iowa approved similar policies earlier this spring. The South Dakota High School Activities Association approved such recommendations in June.

The NCAA has also adopted trans-inclusive policies.

Here is a draft of the proposed policy:

Download (PDF, 538KB)

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Andy Birkey

Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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