Some state legislators are balking at the decision by the Minnesota State High School League to allow transgender students to play on the teams they choose.
Minnesota is now the 33rd state to adopt policies favorable to transgender students.
State law already allows girls to compete on male teams. This new policy will allow students born as boys but who self-identify as females to play on girls’ teams. To its credit, the MSHSL Board overwhelmingly approved the new policy late last year, which will begin this school year. About 500 Minnesota high schools are to implement the new policy. Religiously-affiliated private schools are exempt from the policy.
It is not known how many students in Minnesota identify as transgender. Estimates by the Transgender Law Center are that 0.3 percent of the population worldwide is transgender.
The MSHSL courageously defied loud opponents of the policy, rejecting alarmist accusations the policy would have boys and girls showering together and some boys would pretend to be transgender so they could ogle girls at close quarters. Ridiculous. They’re using variations of the same fear tactics used in the same-sex-marriage debate – that allowing it would spell the end of marriage as a cherished institution.
Opponents of the policy also claimed the ruling would take away freedom of choice from schools. What about the freedom of choice of transgender students?
Then, of course, the old argument was trotted out again – whether people choose their sexuality or whether it’s a genetic factor. Virtually all psychologists have determined sexuality is not the result of a decision, but even if it were, so what? Americans, we are constantly reminded, can choose who they want to be in this great, free country.
The 20 or so Republican legislators and their supporters who oppose the MSHSL policy are resorting to the same alarmist tactics mentioned above. They are even daring to claim the new policy is harmful to transgender students because it will cause them to be bullied. As if they aren’t now, including by some ignorant state legislators.
Sen. David Brown (R-Becker) is author of one version of the bill.
He said this (don’t laugh; he was serious): “If you identify as a male and you’re in a locker room and you’re undressing and you’re the only female body in there, you think you’re not going to have some fallback from that?”
Where do these lurid locker-room nightmares come from?
The policy encourages schools to make reasonable and separately private accommodations in locker rooms and showers.
These legislative busy-bodies are desperately trying to invent problems where none exist. They are backed by the same “family-rights” groups who would, if they could, instantly end same-sex marriage and all other hard-won rights by GLBT people and their families. It’s mean-spirited, to say the least, to so narrowly define “family” by excluding the rights of other people, other families just because they don’t happen to fit into their narrowly defined norm.
Fortunately for one and all, the forces of progress and enlightenment are moving forward. These legislators and their supporters are going to have a mighty hard time turning the clocks back to the good old days, which weren’t so good if you happen to have been a human being who was denied the most basic dignity and rights.