Kiwanis Park via City of Brainerd
Kiwanis Park via City of Brainerd

The Brainerd Parks and Recreation Board unanimously adopted a transgender inclusive policy at its board meeting earlier this week to align itself with the Minnesota State High School League’s policy adopted in December.

According to the Brainerd Dispatch, the board approved using the MSHSL policy after hearing from a parent in the city who has a transgender child interested in participating in the park board’s youth softball leagues.

“This is really a whole new discussion nationwide and it’s certainly an evolving legal issue and sociology issue,” Jackie Burkey, parks board president, said according to the Dispatch. “I think if we tie ourselves to the state high school league, then as their policy evolves, ours would automatically evolve with them.”

The MSHSL policy, adopted in early December, provides an appeal’s process for transgender youth seeking to participate in athletics. The policy provides guidelines for student participation, and if the school district or the students has concerns, they can appeal to the MSHSL.

The Brainerd Parks policy is identical to the MSHSL policy, parks director Tony Sailor told The Column.

The board will follow a similar appeal’s process to that of MSHSL, the Dispatch reports:

Council liaison Gabe Johnson asked Sailer whether he or a member of his staff would be comfortable with making an eligibility determination. Sailer said he thinks a committee should be established or the parks board as a whole should review transgender people’s applications.

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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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