Minnesota’s $1.869 billion surplus is a hot topic at the Capitol lately, and legislators are busying themselves trying to figure out how to best move forward. This is a huge opportunity to continue investing in crucial priorities for Minnesota’s working families.
However, Republican lawmakers seem to think that introducing legislation to revoke last fall’s decision by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), which allowed transgender high school athletes to play on the sports team of their choice, was a more productive way to spend their time than figuring out how to help working families get ahead.
After months of contentious, and at times heart-wrenching, debate about transgender high school athletes who were forced to play on sports teams where their gender identity was different from their teammates’, the MSHSL “overwhelmingly approved” a policy that allows those athletes to choose on which team they want to play.
Members of the GOP who introduced the legislation to roll back the transgender-including policy claimed they did so because “‘all’ parents in Minnesota” want to make sure their children are comfortable and protected in intimate settings, such as athletic fields and locker rooms.
…That is, unless your child is transgender. It seems Minnesota Republicans do not hold the belief that transgender students are also worthy of feeling comfortable and protected in intimate settings.
One of the authors of the GOP legislation, Rep. Tim Miller, said the Legislature has a “responsibility for the safety and physical privacy of students that attend our schools.” Again, that logic doesn’t seem to apply to students who identify as transgender.
DFL legislators, like Sen. Scott Dibble, were quick to point out the message this legislation sends to transgender kids across the state:
I’m not concerned whether it will move and pass because I don’t think it’s going to, but what concerns me is you’ve got a bill like this introduced by officials with the state of Minnesota, responsible adults, and it sends a highly negative message. It fans the flames of hysteria and gives young transgender people and their families a negative message of who they are. That’s a really big problem.
With how busy the Legislature is at this time of year, the anti-transgender legislation isn’t a good way for lawmakers to be spending their time. The focus on this bill tells transgender student athletes that restricting the ability for them to play on the team of their choice is more of a priority to Republicans than the host of issues in St. Paul, such as transportation funding, education, and the state’s budget.
Student athletes who identify as transgender are just now getting used to the idea that they have the freedom to feel safe and feel like they belong on their sports team.
It’s cruel, unfair, and a waste of time for these legislators to try to take that away.