Minnesota passes high school transgender athlete policy

Transgender athletes allowed to play on team of preferred gender

Transgender student athletes in Minnesota will now be able to play on the sports team of their preferred gender.

The Minnesota State High School League made the decision Thursday night at a public meeting.

In Minnesota, if a girl had the ability to play with the boys, she could do that if everyone agreed; however, boys could not do the same.

Now the new policy will allow boys who “self-identify” as girls to play on a girls team. 

Along with support comes opposition to the policy, but the main goal behind it is to provide equal opportunity to all student athletes.

This is Casey Indra’s first year as activities director for Winona Senior High School.

“I schedule all the events, make sure officials are set and make sure buses are taken care of,” said Indra.

Along with all of those responsibilities, Indra has something new on his radar.

“The hot topic has been the transgender policy that the State High School League passed,” said Indra.

The policy allows transgender athletes to play on the sports team they most comfortably identify with.

For example, a boy who identifies himself as a girl can play on the girls team.

“The rule was created to be fair to every single kid,” said Indra.

But not everyone sees the policy in the same light.

“If you were to put a young man, a transgender young man, on a girls team, I’m sure there are going to be a lot of girls that think it’s unfair,” said Indra.

“I don’t think there should be a difference. We are all differently built, we have different sizes in both sexes,” said mother of two Lori Falteisek.

Falteisek said she would be upset if her child was denied something solely based on gender.

“You want the child to have every opportunity possible, you want better for them than what you’ve had,” said Falteisek. “Whenever the opportunity is denied them, it crushes you.”

The policy is something new for Indra and there are things that will need to be considered

“You have to look at the locker rooms, you have to look at the showers, you have to look at the bathrooms,” said Indra.

But when time comes, Indra said the administration will create a plan with all the students’ best interest in mind.

“There will be a lot of work there, but ultimately that is what we are here for,” said Indra.

Before a transgender athlete is able to compete on his or her preferred gender’s team, the parent or guardian will have to give a written statement to the school confirming the gender identity. The student will also have to submit a note from a health care professional pertaining to the student’s gender identification.

Minnesota is the 33rd state to adopt a high school transgender athlete policy and it will begin in the 2015-2016 school year.