- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Amid strong reaction on both sides of the issue, the Minnesota State High School League voted Thursday to table a proposed policy that would set guidelines for transgender student-athletes in high school sports.

The delay gives the league board more time to consider the divisive plan, which spells out how schools should handle transgender students in sports and what documentation those athletes would need to define their gender, such as proof of hormone therapy or surgery.

Board members received an estimated 10,000 emails on the policy, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1vdtF6u ) reported. Parents, students and advocates packed a hearing on the matter Wednesday that lasted nearly two hours.

In a unanimous voice vote Thursday, the 19-member board approved forming a task force. The board is expected to consider the proposal again at its next meeting on Dec. 4.

Supporters said the policy would affirm transgender athletes by sending a message that the high school league recognizes their challenges and aims to provide a positive experience. Opponents criticized the proposal as too vague, saying it violated legal requirements and failed to provide options for non-transgender athletes.

Other opponents asked for an exemption for Catholic private schools, while others questioned the idea of gender as a choice.

At Wednesday’s meeting, some members of the crowd wore stickers reading “Yes for Trans Justice” provided by OutFront Minnesota. Others wore buttons with the umbrella logo of the Child Protection League Action, which opposes the plan.

Thirty-two other states and the NCAA have “some sort of policy or procedure” in place regarding transgender student-athlete participation, Minnesota State High School League executive director Dave Stead said.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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