Nebraska Bishops Decry School Transgender Sports Policy

News: Education
by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  January 21, 2016   

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LINCOLN ( - Nebraska’s Catholic bishops are denouncing a move by the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) to force schools to accept new gender participation policies.

The NSAA oversees all sports competition among high schools in the state. The Gender Participation Policy (GPP) dictates that the NSAA should form a gender-eligibility committee that would rule on students case by case, using documentation provided by friends, teachers or the family of a transgender person as well as a health care professional affirming the student’s gender expression.

It would further provide that a boy, for example, could play on a girl's team, but documentation would have to be provided to the committee proving he had been on at least a year of hormone therapy "to address competitive equity concerns about males being physically larger than females."

Transgender students would, however, be required to use private bathrooms and locker rooms or those that match their biological sex.

On January 13, several school districts voted that students can only play on teams that identify with the gender on their birth certificate. Their proposal is supposed to go for a final vote on April 8 at the NSAA Representative Assembly.

But only a day later the NSAA Board of Directors voted 6–2 to adopt the GPP and implemented it immediately.

The Bishops of Nebraska — Bp. George Lucas of Omaha, Bp. James Conley of Lincoln, and Bp. Joseph Hanefeldt of Grand Island — called the decision "arbitrary" and "non-collaborative," and that it "circumvented the will of the voting members."

An earlier statement by the bishops declared: "It would be unjust to allow a harmful and deceptive gender ideology to shape either what is taught or how activities are conducted in our schools. This would certainly have a negative impact on students' and society's attitudes towards the fundamental nature of the human person and the family."

The proposal can still be defeated on April 8 at the Representative Assembly. People are encouraged to contact the NSAA board of directors.


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