Conservative groups in Minnesota, including misleadingly named "Child Protection League," have spouted complete and utter crap about a new proposed transgender student-athlete policy from the Minnesota State High School League. The CPL has even taken out a full page transphobic ad in a major state newspaper.
The full page many have far too kindly called a "political advertisement" was published in the Star Tribune. It features a picture of an open shower room with the big, bolded message: "A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are YOU okay with that?" Below that, it supposedly gives a list of what proposed parts of the draft language mean. Although the advertisement is misleading at the very least, and completely indefensible at the worst, it certainly is reminiscent of responses to every single attempt to accommodate transgender individuals in the past. Despite the fact the so-called "threat" from transgender individuals has been throughly debunked over and over again.
So, okay, so-called "Child Protection League," let's break this down:
"A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are YOU okay with that?"
Let's be honest here, the reason the choice was made to totally negate the existence of trans boys in this opening statement is clear. In the logic of the CPL and their allies, trans boys are confused girls but pretty much harmless, trans girls are actually perverted boys waiting to strike against their cisgender female peers. And the use of male next to daughter also invokes the further image of an adult man rather than an adolescent. The idea is to create a power imbalance where none may actually exist—at least not anymore so than between cisgender girls of different physicalities and abilities.
A 14-year-old trans girl is someone's daughter. Oh, and 14-year-old trans boys really exist. I promise. They're not unicorns or faeries.
"Transgender males are allowed to play on girls' sports teams and transgender girls on boys teams."
You know, I'm not an expert at bigotry, but it seems to me like if you're going to spend time putting out a full page advertisement promoting it, you should get your terms at least consistent, even if they're shitty ones. Transgender girls were assigned male at birth, many transgender men and transgender boys, who were assigned female at birth, consider themselves to be transgender males. So even as a criticism this doesn't make sense, because trans boys probably don't want to play on girls' teams and trans girls probably do. So this doesn't just come off as wrong and ignorant, but as stupid because what it says isn't what the organisation means. Also, you know, because of Title IX, girls can already play on boys' teams, being the group historically kept out of sports. So, uh... what?
"Biological males might be allowed to shower, dress, and share hotel accommodations with biological girls, and vice versa."
Again, this disparity between male and girl. Trans girls may indeed be allowed to shower, dress, and share hotel accommodations with cisgender girls. Because they are girls. And trans boys may indeed be allowed to shower, dress, and share hotel accommodations with cisgender boys. Because they are boys. Of course, and this is an important detail: only if the transgender student desires it. Many won't, for obvious reasons. Which leads us to our first out and out lie:
"Privacy accommodations may be provided for transgender athletes; however there is no privacy accommodations made for all other students."
Bullshit. The draft policy (which was linked above) makes it clear that any athlete may request privacy accommodations. In fact, that's almost verbatim. If conservative parents are so worried about the mere possibility of a transgender student-athlete being anywhere near their children, they may request special accommodations. The policy language only states that transgender student-athletes must not be compelled into privacy accommodations if they don't wish to take advantage of the privacy accommodations offered. Absolutely nothing in the language states you have to be transgender to access these facilities.
"No safety provisions are included for physical disparities."
Liar liar, pants on fire. The draft policy clearly states that in order for trans girls to participate on girls teams they must be receiving hormone suppression and/or replacement therapy. Given the age we are dealing with here, such therapy will have a fairly quick and major effect on trans girls. If any physical disparity exists, it will quickly be mitigated. And not all trans girls will even necessarily need it. As a teenager, no physical disparity existed between me and my cisgender peers. I probably couldn't have made girls' teams after trying out, boys' teams were utterly impossible. Likewise, if trans boys are on hormone replacement therapy, they must play on the boys' team. If these aren't "provisions included for physical disparities," I'm not sure what the words "provisions" "physical" and "disparity" mean. Clearly.
"'Transgender Sensitivity Training' is required for all students, teachers, counselors, coaches, staff, and parents at school district cost."
False. Even if this was in the draft policy, and it's not, I can't see how you could possibly compel parents to attend any such training, nor can I see how the League would mandate all students to attend. That said, if such training was required for teachers, counselors, coaches, and staff, that would be a move to celebrate. And if it were, this section would no doubt simply include a picture of Grumpy Cat saying, "GOOD." Yet it is not in the draft policy, so it's just another lie.
"This policy applies to all public and private schools in the League. There is NO exemption for religious schools."
That's absolutely true. And the League covers all sorts of aspects of schools. It's an association schools join to be seen as credible institutions of learning. It includes academics, arts, and athletics. There aren't other exemptions because a school may be associated with religious belief, or any other reason that a school administration might find. The whole point of having a League in the first place is to standardise educational experiences across the state and to do so fairly. Oh, so you're not exempt from Title IX either simply because you believe that girls only need enough education to properly manage a home? You don't get to be exempt from League-wide policies because you think transgender children don't exist.
Image via Star Tribune/Twitter.