The board governing Minnesota's high school sports will postpone a vote on whether transgender students should be allowed to train and compete with other athletes until December.
The policy would allow for students to participate in sports based on their gender identity rather than by their gender assigned at birth, reports Minneapolis-St. Paul TV station KARE. Members of the organization wanted more time to study and share the policy.
"I wouldn't be able to support it," Minnesota State High School League member Tom Graupmann told KARE. "I would not be able to do that today. I want to be clear. I believe in the principles surrounding this issue, but the policy needs to be tightened up. That work can be done."
The proposed measure has drawn strong reactions from both sides. Some parents say students should be forced to participate in sports based on their gender assigned at birth.
"Activities that are organized by gender and have been organized that way for sound reasons," Daphne Edwards, a mother of a child in the Minnesota school system, told Minnesota Public Radio. "I don't think it's too much to require students to participate based on their gender, their sex, their biological anatomy."
Other parents are in favor of the measure and are asking the league to pass the measure for their own children's benefit. The delay in implementing the measure would only further send transgender students the message that they are unwelcome, some parents told MPR.
"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 his emotional well-being and self-esteem," Emily Downs, a mother of a student, told MPR.
A Minnesota newspaper recently came under fire after it ran a full-page ad by an antitransgender coalition. The ad was aimed at preventing the league from adopting the transgender student athlete policy. There was immediate backlash on social media to the full-page ad in the Star Tribune, the state's largest newspaper, reportsThe Huffington Post.
The newspaper nonetheless defended its decision to accept the ad. "In Minnesota, organizations and individuals of all kinds -- left, right, other -- know that if you want to reach the largest audience and have the biggest impact with your message, the best way to do it is advertising in the Star Tribune," Steve Yaeger, the paper's vice president of marketing and public relations, told Twin Cities alternative weekly CityPages.