Under pressure from anti-LGBT groups, Republicans in the Minnesota Senate have introduced a bill to block schools from making accessible facilities available to transgender and gender non-conforming students, and blocking equal access to school sports.
The bill, Senate File 1543 would in effect repeal the Minnesota State High School League’s transgender-inclusive high school athletics policy. That policy provided guidance to member schools that transgender students should have the ability to participate in extracurricular activities based on their gender. The bill would also block the St. Paul Board of Education’s proposed gender inclusion policy which would make school facilities accessible to transgender students.
The bill was introduced by Republican Sens. David Brown of Becker, Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake, Ruud of Breezy Point, Dave Thompson of Lakeville, and Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake.
The full text of the bill:
Section 1. [121A.041] ATHLETIC TEAMS; PARTICIPATION.
Subdivision 1. Level of skill and ability. An elementary or secondary school may make participation on a team in a sport dependent upon a demonstrated level of skill and ability.
Subd. 2. Female teams; male participation. When an elementary or secondary school establishes a team for students of the female sex, students of the male sex may not try out for or participate on that team. For purposes of this section, “sex” means the physical condition of being male or female, which is genetically determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.
Subd. 3. Minnesota State High School League. The Minnesota State High School League shall review and conform league rules, guidelines, procedures, and eligibility bylaws to be consistent with this section.
EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment.
Sec. 2. [121A.35] STUDENT PHYSICAL PRIVACY ACT.
Subdivision 1. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to protect and provide for the privacy and safety of all students enrolled in public schools and to maintain order and dignity in restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, showers, and other facilities where students may be in various states of undress in the presence of other students.
Subd. 2. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms have
the meanings given them.
(a) “Sex” means the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.
(b) “Public school” means a public school under section 120A.05, subdivisions 9,
11, 13, and 17, and a charter school under section 124D.10.
Subd. 3. Student physical privacy protection. (a) A public school student
restroom, locker room, changing room, and shower room accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for the exclusive use by students of the male sex only or by students of the female sex only.
(b) A public school student restroom, locker room, changing room, and shower room that is designated for the exclusive use of one sex shall be used only by members of that sex.
(c) In any other public school facility or setting where a student may be in a state of undress in the presence of other students, school personnel shall provide separate, private, and safe areas designated for use by students based on their sex.
(d) Nothing in this section shall prohibit public schools from providing accommodation such as single-occupancy facilities or controlled use of faculty facilities upon a student request due to special circumstances, but in no event shall that accommodation result in a public school allowing a student to use a facility designated under paragraph (b) for a sex other than the student’s own sex.
The bill’s language is identical to the demands of two anti-LGBT groups. Just hours before the bill was introduced, two anti-LGBT groups, the Minnesota Child Protection League and the Minnesota Family Council, had urged their supporters to call for a bill to be introduced.
The Minnesota Child Protection League wrote:
The MN Legislature has been in session for almost two months and we still do not have a bill. There is a bill drafted, waiting in the wings, but YOU are the one who can get it finally introduced. They need your support and encouragement, and we are confident that they will do the right thing. This is no time to be bashful!
…This is unspeakable! We cannot let this happen. We must all call for a bill in this legislative session that will secure the right of every child to his or her physical privacy and safety. If we cannot secure this for our children during the school day, then we cannot send them into the classroom. We must have protective legislation.
The Minnesota Family Council wrote:
The latest wave of “political correctness” demanded by the LGBT lobby requires that students’ privacy and safety be sacrificed for their agenda. They insist that students who identify as transgender (those students struggling with gender identity, identifying themselves as opposite their biological sex–or somewhere in between on the “gender spectrum”) must be granted access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and athletic teams opposite their biological sex.
We ask the officials we elected to represent us to pass a law clarifying that school bathrooms need to continue to be for biological girls only and biological boys only.
We ask the officials we elected to represent us to pass a law clarifying that our girls sports teams were intended to be for…biological girls–for obvious safety and fairness reasons!
Here are the full emails: