The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, which governs most high school sports in New Jersey, will now allow transgender students to compete based on their gender identity without medical consultation, according to a new policy.
Therefore, if a biologically male student-athlete says he identifies as a female, he must be allowed to compete in the girls sports, and vice versa. Previously, medical consultation was required for transgender students to compete outside their biological gender.
There are a few stipulations:
- Students must choose to either compete according to their birth sex or gender identity, but not both.
- Schools may appeal transgender students’ eligibility to compete based on the potential that participation would “adversely affect competition or safety.” However, these appeals would not take into consideration whether the student’s sex-assignment has been determined properly.
- Students can’t change sports in the middle of a season.
“NJSIAA has a duty to address major issues impacting the student-athletes we represent,” said NJSIAA Executive Director Steven Timko in a statement. “This policy simply states that we allow the student-athlete to compete in accordance with their identified gender.”
An attorney for the NJSIAA, Steve Goodell, said the policy change was enacted after the organization received complaints that a requirement of medical proof of a student’s gender identity was unfair.
“They didn’t like the idea of someone having to prove the transgender status,” Goodell said. “They really made a convincing case that this is not something the students are making up to try to game the system.”
Heather Zeiger, in a column for The Stream written in June, raised concerns about the long-term impact of allowing biological males to compete in female sports.
“Women will, in effect, be pushed out of competition because they were born with female bodies,” Zeiger wrote. “Does that make any sense? As Jeff Jacobs asks in his thoughtful article in the Hartford Courant, ‘What do we tell these girls? A transgender’s journey is more important than your journey?’”
(H/T The Christian Post)