Yesterday morning, the Minnesota State High School League was on the brink of history, ready to vote on the first rules for transgender athletes in the state's history. It's a policy that, as we explained yesterday, shouldn't be controversial. But it's still historic.
And yet the MSSHL decided to keep teasing out the decision. In its meeting yesterday, the group voted to table their vote on the proposal until December so they could learn a little more in the interim. Despite hearing the stories from transgender students and activists over the course of a few days, the board said it needed time to "get this right."
Already, the draft proposal in front of the league had been heavily whittled down. It started at four pages with all sorts of details: how schools could decide if a transgender student is eligible, how different kinds of hormone therapy played into the equation, and instruction for places like hotel rooms and locker rooms.
When it came time for the board to debate, though, the draft was noticeably shorter and far less specific:
Despite the limited wording, transgender-equality groups like OutFront Minnesota still wanted to see it passed, because at least it was something. But, they say, the delay in the vote could actually be a good thing to help get a stronger proposal passed eventually.
"So we're obviously disappointed that the High School League didn't pass the policy today," OutFront executive director Monica Meyer tells us."But I think it's an opportunity for us to encourage students and parents and teachers and coaches to really contact the high school league to ensure that this is a really strong policy."
The question remains, though: What's there to keep studying? Thirty-two states already have transgender athlete rules. If you want to learn more, look there. Based on that, the likely effects will probably be minimal: A few people may get pissed off, but a whole bunch of high school athletes will also get some much-needed equality.
For that opportunity, they'll have to wait until December 4, when the MSHSL meets again and presumably votes on the proposal. We'll see you then.