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Religious Freedom Group Says Transgender Athlete Policy "Treats Children As Guinea Pigs"

The October hearing, from Jana Shortal on Twitter

The October hearing, from Jana Shortal on Twitter

As the Minnesota State High School League keeps deliberating on a policy to allow transgendered athletes to choose what sport they play based on their gender identity, it's heard from nearly everybody. Students, parents, administrators, activists.

To us, the policy seemed logical (and simply the right thing to do). But for the Alliance Defending Freedom, it's been anything but.

See also: "Controversial" MSHSL Draft Policy Really Shouldn't Be

Perhaps that shouldn't be much of a surprise -- after all, the group is set up to fight "growing attacks on religious freedom," making it not exactly a friend to transgender causes. But the group was so offended, it turns out, that it wrote a letter to the MSHSL bashing the entire proposal.

Its argument appears to be pretty flimsy -- basically, that students of certain religions and their parents won't like sharing locker rooms or hotel rooms with transgendered people. And that because the state has no real "compelling reason" to add the policy (something we'd contest), it's just hurting teens who don't want to be around those of the opposite biological sex in their locker room.

It's similar to what we saw in the now-infamous Minnesota Child Protection League ad, just with a religious twist.

"MSHSL's proposal treats children as guinea pigs fit for social experimentation," the letter reads. "...and seriously compromises parents' rights to make decisions regarding their children's care by forcing them to trade their children's essential right to dignity and physical privacy for participation in high school sports."

But to us, the argument makes pretty much no sense. No "compelling reason," you say? It seems that whole notion of gender equality is pretty good. Or the fact that there are students out there who can't play sports without having to hide themselves. Or that transgender athlete Zeam Porter told the MSHSL board: "I already feel like I don't have my body -- now I am soulless."

Seems pretty compelling.

Plus, just look around the country. It's not like Minnesota's policy is this new, huge threat to religious freedom. California passed a law this year that did the same thing. There are similar policies in 31 other states (this map from Deadspin has a nice roundup). Crashing down on Minnesota won't change that.

Life is already hard enough for transgendered students. Give 'em this one.

We tried to contact the Alliance to hear a little more from their side but didn't get an answer.

Here's the letter in full, if you want to read it:

Alliance Defending Freedom Letter


Send your story tips to the author, Robbie Feinberg. Follow him on Twitter @robbiefeinberg.