Virginia's New Transgender Sports Policy Called too Narrow

Feb. 21, 2014

Critics say a new Virginia policy on transgender high school athletes is too restrictive.

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) announced Wednesday that transgender students who have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy to play on teams in the gender they identify with.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the policy would have minimal impact because the surgery is typically performed on adults. Minors need parental consent, and it's a medical expense usually not covered by insurance.

Leaders of local, statewide and national gender equality organizations said they thought the pool of potential athletes who would fall under Virginia's new policy was nearly nonexistent, making the new policy little more than symbolic.

The motion passed on a 27-0 vote of the VHSL executive committee. It will govern participation at the state's 313 public high schools starting next school year.

Advocates for gay, lesbian and transgender students say the policy is a good first step.

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