NIAA to Pave Road for Transgender High School Athletes

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RENO, NV -- Should transgender high school athletes be allowed to decide for themselves whether to play on the boys' team or girls' team? The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association is considering granting transgender students the allowance to choose.

High school sports can be gender-exclusive, but for those athletes who identify with the opposite sex, those eligibility lines can be blurry. More than half a dozen states, including Washington and California, have adopted the policies to allow transgender students to compete on teams of their choosing and Nevada could be next.

"Issues with respect to high school athletics has become somewhat of a larger and open issue on a national basis," Paul Anderson, NIAA legal counsel, said.

Transgender students are a small but growing group across the nation, and Nevada plans to stay ahead of the curve.

"We don't have the policy out there and those types of students may not know that they have the ability to come to us to seek eligibility."

From choosing the sport they want to play to the locker room they want to use, the policy will give transgender students the right to choose.

"At least we have something to reference at this point. It may not be officially adopted but we have a working document that we can use should this situation arise at this point," he added.

The policy has already been adopted at the college level, but now high schools across the nation are looking to do the same. Students will have to provide medical documentation and a statement from both the student and the parents on their gender identity.

"There are some concerns that some student athletes may abuse the policy from the standpoint of participation rules or for other reasons," Anderson said. "The policy will be written in a way that will weed through those situations and the only cases that might be considered under the policy would be true situations of transgender student athletes."

A revised draft of the policy with specifications will presented to the board in January to be finalized.