The Short of It
A new policy would require Nebraska transgender students to take hormones for a year before participating in school sports.
If the Nebraska School Activities Association has its way, trans students will have to undergo a year of documented hormone therapy before they're permitted to play on the sports team of their gender of identity. Currently, they are only allowed to play as their birth gender.
The controversial policy would also require trans athletes to win approval from a gender identity eligibility committee, made up of a doctor, mental health professional, school administrator, and member of the association. Witness accounts of how the person was living their life would figure into the decision.
"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, told The Omaha World-Herald.
Reportedly, he is referring to trans female athletes, who could be larger and stronger than their girl teammates.
But taking hormones is a personal choice, one that not all transgender individuals may favor, and some, not until later in life. According to Amy Miller, the legal director of Nebraska's ACLU, "All students should have the opportunity to play sports based on their gender identity—period." She says schools that participate in the measure could risk loss of Federal funding.
But Tenopir, who is fully aware the NSAA is acting against Federal discrimination laws, says he is willing to fight for the policy he claims is in keeping with "Midwestern values."
It's also worth noting under the proposed policy that a transgender athlete who had not undergone gender reassignment surgery would only be allowed to use the bathroom according to his or her gender at birth.
Regulations for transgender athletes in schools are decided by each state. Some states, like California, allow trans persons to play on the team with their gender of identity, while others, like Alabama, require that students play as the gender they were assigned at birth.
Clearly, this issue is not going anywhere. How do you think it should be handled?