KSHSAA approves policy on transgender students

The Kansas State High School Activities Association Executive Board approved a new policy to help schools deal with transgendered students wanting to participate in KSHSAA sponsored activities.

The new policy would allow transgendered students to participate on the opposite genders team, if they can prove to their school that they are truly transgendered. KSHSAA defines transgendered as “a person whose gender identity doesn’t match the sex assigned to him or her at birth.” KSHSAA has set up a procedure that the school and students are recommended to follow for identifying the student as transgendered. However, there is still confusion about the new rule.

“It’s not cut and dry to me,” high school principal Herb McPherson said. “It brought up a lot of concerns.”

To start the process, the student or their parent notifies the school principal or athletic director that they want KSHSAA to identify the student as the opposite sex. The school official then reviews registration records and medical documentation. The school official also takes into consideration if the student will gain an unfair competitive advantage before making a final decision. Then it is up to the school official to determine which genders’ team the student should participate on. Once the student is identified as transgender, they must stick with that label until they graduate. This prevents them from participating on both genders’ teams.

Gary Musselman, the KSHSAA Executive Director, said that the reason they felt the need to address this issue was because a member school was asking for guidance.

“All students, regardless of gender identity, are entitled to opportunities to participate in school activity programs,” Musselman said.

The purpose of this new rule is to give transgender students equal opportunities. The new rule took effect Jan. 15.

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