Transgender students in South Dakota could be allowed to participate in sports based on their identified gender. The South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors is considering a new policy on transgender students.
The first reading of the policy was on Tuesday, so it is in its early stages. It would allow students to participate in activities according to their identified gender, not necessarily the gender listed on their records.
Schools would have to first review requests by transgender students or guardians and decide which team the student can participate on. Then a gender identification eligibility committee will make the final ruling. The committee will consist of experts familiar with transgender health and gender identity. Students must seek the designation for genuine reasons and not to gain an unfair advantage.
Those on the board say they are trying to be proactive, because this issue has happened in other states, and coaches understand.
"You have to be a little proactive I'm sure that's why the state is looking at this but you except, and whatever rules are made you follow them. You know years ago I remember when a bunch of boys in little league wanted to play girls softball and it was a huge issue," said Jason Olson, the Stevens High School tennis coach.
The second reading will be in June, and that's when it will be decided if it's approved or not. If approved, the transgender policy would go into affect this fall, for the 2014 to 2015 school year.