High school league puts transgender athlete policy on hold

Zeam Porter
Zeam Porter speaks about the years Porter played basketball on the girls team and how it always felt like the wrong team, during the Minnesota State High School League's public hearing on their proposed transgender policy, Oct. 1, 2014, in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
Renee Jones Schneider / The Star Tribune via AP

Updated 5 p.m.

The Minnesota State High School League has tabled a controversial plan on transgender athletes until December.

Related: Proposed high school athlete policy stirs controversy

After two days of public testimony and 10,000 emails on both sides of the issue, the league's board on Thursday decided to form a committee to study the issue further and revisit it in December.

The proposed policy would let transgender athletes play on the team they feel is best aligned with their gender.

People opposed to the plan expressed safety and privacy concerns if transgender athletes are allowed to compete on the team of their choice.

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Daphne Edwards, who identified herself as a parent, told the board allowing a transgender athlete who identifies as female to play on a girls' sports team could be dangerous to other athletes.

"Activities that are organized by gender and have been organized that way for sound reasons," she said. "I don't think it's too much to require students to participate based on their gender, their sex, their biological anatomy."

Those in favor of the policy say delaying a decision keeps transgender student athletes from feeling welcome to participate in sports.

Emily Downs asked board members to approve the measure.

Jason Adkins
Jason Adkins holds up a petition with 3,300 signatures against the transgender policy during the Minnesota State High School Leagues public hearing on their proposed transgender policy, Oct. 1, 2014 in Brooklyn Center.
Renee Jones Schneider / The Star Tribune via AP

"If my son is allowed to participate on a sports team with a gender he identifies as, it will significantly impact his high school experience in a positive way as well as well as his well as his emotional well being and self esteem," she said.

The board discussed the issue for about an hour Thursday.

Scott McCready
Scott McCready, chair of the Minnesota State High School League board of directors, talks with other board members during a meeting on Thursday, October 2, 2014 in Brooklyn Center. The board tabled a policy on transgender athletes until December.
Tim Post / MPR News

Members seemed to agree there needs to be some kind of official policy on transgender athletes, but several of the 19 board members said they wanted more time to talk it over with the schools they represent.

"I believe we really need to fully solicit, inform and then share the contents of this policy with school boards, superintendents, principals and activity directors," said board member Tom Graupmann, activities director for Northfield High School. "They need to be in the formation of what we do."

The high school league board wants to develop a solid policy, said board chair Scott McCready.

"If that means we need to take a couple more months and have a committee take a look at something and revise it as needed we're happy to do that," he said.