NORFOLK, Neb. – Nebraska high school athletic officials are willing to accept the idea of a girl actually being a boy or vice-versa, as long as the students in question take some steps to make it closer to reality.
The Nebraska School Activities Association, responding to pressure to allow transgender students to choose between playing on girls or boys teams, based on their perceived gender, are considering a draft policy that would require such athletes to undergo a full year of hormonal therapy.
The main idea is to avoid giving biological boys who play girls sports an unfair physical advantage, according to a report from TakePart.com.
If the students in question have not undergone surgical sex changes, they would have to use restrooms and locker rooms assigned to their biological gender, or private facilities.
Any application to allow a biological male to play on a girls teams, or vice versa, would require the unanimous approval of a special state committee consisting of a doctor, a mental health professional, a representative of the NSAA and a school administrator, the report said.
“We wanted to assure a level playing field, assure competitive balance and protect the safety of young people, and address personal privacy interests of all students,” Jim Tenopir, executive director of the NSAA, was quoted as saying by TakePart.com.
The policy would allow schools to have their own transgender athletic policies. Local administrators would be allowed to decide whether to ask the NSAA to determine eligibility for particular students.
“Pure and simple that second bullet point says if you’re not OK with that student participating in your school, the buck stops there,” Tenopir was quoted as saying by JournalStar.com.
There was also apparently a second proposal considered by the NSAA that would require students to participate on sports teams that are consistent with the gender listed on their birth certificates, according to JournalStar.com.
That concept has the support of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, the JournalStar.com report said.
The proposed policy that includes hormonal treatments will reportedly be voted on by the NSAA board in January. If adopted it will likely be challenged by federal officials.
The U.S. Department of Education insists that transgender students’ rights to play on the teams of their choice, and use the restroom and shower facilities of their choice, are protected by Title IX, a law that forbids gender discrimination in schools.
Department officials have threatened schools with the loss of federal funding if they don’t comply.
But is sounds as though NSAA officials might be willing to stand their ground.
“That’s something we’re ready and willing to fight [for],” said Tenopir, who added that the draft policy is in line with “midwestern values,” according to TakePart.com.