If you live in Minnesota, your high-school daughter might soon be showering next to a male after athletic practice if a “transgender” policy being considered by the Minnesota State High School League is approved next month.
And beyond Minnesota? Such a policy could be coming to other states, too, if there is not already one in place.
Critics of the controversial measure in Minnesota, which has sparked fierce opposition across the state, told WND the policy was unneeded, dangerous and part of a broader radical agenda.
It could also represent a violation of privacy, parental rights and religious liberty, according to legal experts involved in the issue.
As transgender policies spread across America, national organizations have become involved in the fight to stop the proposal from being imposed on Minnesota school children.
The policy draft being considered is aimed at allowing “transgender” students – children who believe they were born in the body of the wrong biological sex – to participate on the sports team corresponding with their “perceived gender.”
So, if a boy believes he is a girl trapped in a male body, he should be allowed to play on the girls’ sports team under the proposed policy, regardless of the “gender assigned at birth.”
The policy draft also lays out a process for determining whether or not a transgender student qualifies to compete and play with the opposite biological sex in addition to an appeals process if permission is initially denied.
“Fundamental fairness, as well as most local, state and federal rules and regulations, requires schools to provide a transgender student with equal opportunities to participate in athletics,” argues a version of the policy draft reviewed by WND.
It was not clear what local, state or federal regulations might purportedly require such a policy. The head of the Minnesota State High School League, or MSHSL, would not comment on that particular issue when reached by WND.
Despite its controversial nature, the transgender plan flew largely under the radar until days before it was set to be considered by the MSHSL last month.
That is when the Child Protection League sprang into action, taking out a full-page newspaper advertisement about the policy.
“A male wants to shower next to your 14-year-old daughter,” the ad reads. “Are YOU OK with that?”
According to the ad, transgender males and females might be allowed to shower, dress and share hotel accommodations with members of the opposite sex.
“Transgender Sensitivity Training” would also be required for all students, teachers, parents, staff and counselors, the ad said.
The public outcry was swift and powerful.
The MSHSL, an organization that oversees interscholastic athletic programs for public, private and home schools in Minnesota, was overwhelmed by the response. Within days of the ad, the organization had received over 10,000 emails as the issue exploded in the media.
However, the MSHSL is still planning to consider the proposal Dec. 4, the executive director of MSHSL, who supports the plan, told WND.
Critics fight back
Minnesota state coordinator and media spokeswoman Michele Lentz of the Child Protection League Action, or CPLAction, said parents need to fight back against the plan.
“The MSHSL policy is part of an aggressive and dangerous push that is under way to encourage and normalize gender confusion and to suppress the right of anyone to object,” Lentz told WND.
Her organization is advising parents, grandparents and taxpayers to “speak up while they still have a voice” on the matter.
“Just hearing about this has caused great public alarm,” Lentz explained. “The policy is generally so outrageous that our biggest hurdle is to get the public to take it seriously. Our challenge is to make very clear that this is a massive, radical, well-funded national push to entirely up-end our culture. It attacks our children to the core of their beings, and creates questions that will undermine relationships of all kinds, including marriages and families.
“We call this a war against kids,” Lentz said, citing a wide array of harms that could afflict high-school students under the plan.
The consequences of allowing the transgender policy to go forward may include, for example, male athletes suddenly appearing in female locker rooms, showers and toilets – or vice versa, if a girl claimed to be male.
“Traveling teams may find themselves sharing hotel accommodations with an athlete of the opposite gender,” Lentz warned, echoing a common concern among Minnesota parents.
From middle school and above, Lentz added, students will be faced with situations in which they will be “expected to treat obviously male or female athletes as if they are the opposite gender, including addressing them as such.”
“The consequences of placing adolescent teens, primarily 13 to 18 years old, in unisex locker rooms are limitless,” Lentz said.
“Depending on the age, some will be sexually assaulted simply through the naked presence of the other gender. Some will be mercilessly bullied. Some will be raped,” she said. “And all will be forced to deny the obvious – the logic, science and attributes of each biological gender.”
Even more dangerous still, perhaps, is that the policy represents a “direct attack on the structure of the family and the essence of manhood and womanhood,” Lentz said.
“It denies the existence of two distinct sexes,” she added. “We no longer are confined to our ‘assigned’ gender at birth. It is irrelevant.”
Mental and physical dangers
The controversial MSHSL draft policy could also end up encouraging hormone treatment for transgender students, even though experts say it is medically dangerous for maturing young people and it binds them into a decision that they may wish to reconsider as they become adults, according to Lentz.
“We have great compassion for children and families dealing with these difficult issues,” she said.
However, Lentz also pointed to the findings of experts such as Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at John Hopkins Hospital, who recently reiterated his strong opposition to legitimizing gender confusion.
In a recent column for the Wall Street Journal, McHugh argued that policymakers and the media were doing no favors to the public or transgender individuals by treating their confusion as a “right in need of defending” rather than a “mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”
He pointed to individuals suffering from anorexia and bulimia as other examples of disorders in which assumptions by the individual about themselves do not correspond to physical reality.
A study last summer, he said, tracked children who perceived themselves to be of the opposite gender and found that, without medical or surgical intervention, between 70 percent and 80 percent spontaneously lost the perception.
Another study in Sweden that followed transgender people who underwent sex-reassignment surgery found suicide mortality rates rose 20-fold above the non-transgender population.
That evidence only bolsters the case of parents and other critics of the proposed MSHSL policy, according to CPLAction’s Lentz.
If it were to be adopted, she said, one effect of the policy would be to interfere with what studies show happens in the vast majority of cases: Transgender children eventually lose those feelings on their own.
The policy, therefore, would amount to a “cruel abuse of young people experiencing difficulty,” Lentz said.
Pushing it anyway
Despite the growing public outcry, proponents of the policy have no intention of backing down. As of mid-November, the MSHSL said it was still planning to take up the measure early next month.
“It is needed to put a structure in place around an issue that already exists,” argued Dave Stead, the executive director of the MSHSL, told WND.
Asked about how many transgender students were in Minnesota, Stead admitted to having “no idea.”
But he insisted the policy is “necessary for our schools to have structure on this issue that exists.”
When requested to clarify what exactly the issue was, he said: “The issue is that there are some students who present themselves differently from what they were assigned at birth.
“That’s a national thing as you well know,” Stead added. “So what we’re doing is putting a structure there for schools.”
He was aware of the growing opposition.
However, when asked about specific concerns raised by parents – boys who call themselves females changing or showering in girls’ locker rooms, for example – he said “that’s not realistic.”
But when asked whether biological boys who consider themselves females would be prohibited from using female facilities, the tone shifted dramatically.
“It’s not anything that we deal with,” he said. “That’s an issue that schools will have to address.
“Schools have to make a determination about all of the students that appear at their schools.”
Stead explained that schools “make the determinations about eligibility, and they make determinations about what will happen in their school communities as well.”
When pressed about the concerns of parents, he responded: “I’ve given you the answer that I would like to give you, and that is that we’re putting a structure around an issue that already exists,” repeating the talking point for the sixth time.
“The board provides guidance for schools,” he concluded, pointing to the MSHSL’s website for more information.
“We’re providing guidance for schools around a particular issue that already exists. I’ve given you all of the information I need to do right now.”
Another staffer at the organization reached before Stead, who said he was not authorized to speak on the record and was not familiar enough with the issue to comment, said numerous other states already had similar policies in place.
Nobody else at the organization contacted by WND responded to repeated requests for comment by press time.
Behind the transgender measure
While Stead and other proponents cite an “issue that exists” as the motivation behind the policy, critics contend a tiny minority of radical activists is the driving force.
“The public is not on board with eliminating reality, including ignoring science, biology and morality,” said Lentz with CPLAction.
She added that her organization – founded by seven concerned moms – was working to get the community involved to stop “this radical assault on all standards of privacy and decency.”
“This policy is not something that parents, schools, or districts have been requesting,” Lentz added when asked why MSHSL was still pushing the plan despite escalating public outrage.
She said the policy is a well-funded effort of homosexual and transgender activists in Minnesota and states across the country.
In particular, she cited OutFront Minnesota, an organization that played an important role in redefining marriage in the state to include same-sex couples.
The homosexual activist group was also instrumental in the passage of a deeply controversial “anti-bullying” law that has been used as “a pretense to promote behaviors and beliefs that many recognize as wrong, immoral, offensive and dangerous to students, from Pre-K to 12th grades,” Lentz said.
OutFront also wants to ban therapy for minors who may be struggling with gender confusion or same-sex attractions, the organization said in an email to supporters.
Now, OutFront has made the MSHSL transgender policy ones of its priorities.
The group could not be immediately reached for comment.
“The opposition is banking on placing a civil rights, political correctness spin on this issue in order to silence the masses,” Lentz said of the strategy being used to promote the policy and similar measures. “Our job is to tell the American public that it is not only all right to speak up, it is their duty in protecting all children, including the gender-confused.”
Lentz said the public should contact their MSHSL representatives to “strongly oppose even the idea of a need for a transgender policy.”
“A transgender policy, even one simply stating that transgender students must play on the team matching their biological gender, is an implicit agreement that a special policy for transgender students is in order,” Lentz explained. “Once we have a transgender policy at all, we have acknowledged the existence of another ‘fluid’ gender. And that is absurd.”
National efforts to stop it
In a letter to members of the MSHSL board of directors, the Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, a national organization of attorneys that fights for religious liberty, warned that the proposed policy would violate the fundamental rights of parents, students and religious schools.
According to the organization, “forcing students to share locker and hotel rooms with members of the opposite sex violates their right to bodily privacy.”
The plan would also open MSHSL, its member schools and their employees to potential legal liability, ADF warned, citing a variety of court cases.
“MSHSL’s proposal treats children as guinea pigs fit for social experimentation,” the three attorneys for ADF said in the letter, concluding that the MSHSL policy would “clearly expose” the state body and its member schools to tort liability.
In an interview with WND, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg with the Family Research Council, or FRC, also warned against pursuing the transgender plan for Minnesota schools.
“We consider it a fundamental right to have privacy and not be exposed to members of the opposite sex against one’s will,” said Sprigg, who has studied the transgender issue in depth. “That is apparently being tossed out the window for the sake of appeasing this tiny minority of people who are disturbed by their gender identity.”
In the interest of “political correctness,” he continued, “we are drifting ever further away from basic reality.”
“The fundamental reality here is that there are biological differences between males and females that are immutable,” Sprigg explained. “Particularly in the context of athletic competition, there is a reason we have separate teams – the sexes are not equal in their athletic capacity.”
He dismissed claims that transgender children and sports was a major issue that required a statewide policy such as the one proposed by MSHSL.
“It’s a big problem only in that transgender activists are demanding that society affirm them in their aberrant view of themselves,” Sprigg said.
“The logical way of dealing with it is saying that, regardless of what you do in other parts of your life, in athletics, you must compete with people of the same biological sex,” he noted, adding that parents are justified in expressing concerns about the plan and its effects on their children.
Sprigg did note that the elaborate process described in the MSHSL draft policy to determine gender might be reasonable for the tiny number of individuals with the extremely rare intersex condition in which there exists genuine ambiguity in biological gender.
“But in situations where the biological sex of a child is unambiguous, they should play with their own gender,” he cautioned.
“We’ve been collaborating with madness instead of treating it,” Sprigg continued, referring to studies, research and experts in the field who describe transgenderism as a mental issue. “We should be providing psychological counseling to help people be comfortable in their biological body.”
Beyond Minnesota, transgender activists are on the march across the nation, with experts such as Sprigg saying they are becoming “more aggressive and assertive” in pushing their demands.
For instance, Sprigg pointed to activists now seeking to allow people to serve in the military as whatever gender they consider themselves, an issue rarely discussed in the debate on repealing the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.
Federal agencies, too, have been advancing the transgender cause, with efforts to expand “discrimination” statutes by bureaucratic fiat to cover gender confusion in addition to other characteristics.
The notion of gender fluidity has increasingly become a celebrated cause among homosexual activists and other prominent interest groups. And now, it is starting to enter mainstream society.
Social-media giant Facebook, for example, offers users 58 different “gender” choices that include agender, bigender, cisgender, gender fluid, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, pangender, transfeminine, transgender, transsexual and two-spirit.
Meanwhile, at schools across the country, national “sexuality” standards schemes are seeking to normalize gender-confusion and other controversial positions fundamentally at odds with traditional understandings of gender and biology.
None of this is helping gender-confused individuals, critics say.
“I do think that counseling – medical and psychological treatment – for people unconformable with their biological sex should focus on helping them become comfortable in their bodies,” said Sprigg at the FRC.
He acknowledged that more honest research into the issue was needed, but it must not begin with the “absurd” premise that people were born in the wrong body.
“Sex re-assignment treatment and surgery is not helping the people who experience these conditions,” Sprigg said, adding that society ought to treat a person’s biological sex as immutable for life.
Authorities should not recognize transgender people’s claims of being the opposite sex, he contended.
“And it certainly should not punish people in the private sector who disagree,” Sprigg concluded.