While policies vary by state and school district, the recommendation for K-12 inclusion of transgender students is for transgender youth to be allowed to play sports in their affirmed gender.
The Transgender Law & Policy Institute's document, Guidelines for Creating Policies for Transgender Children in Recreational Sports, says,
"All young people should have the opportunity to play recreational sports and have their personal dignity respected. Transgender young people are no different. In fact, because transgender young people often must overcome significant stigma and challenges, it would be particularly harmful to exclude them from the significant physical, mental and social benefits that young people gain by playing recreational sports. The impact of such discrimination can be severe and can cause lifelong harm. In contrast, permitting transgender children and youth to participate in recreational sports in their affirmed gender can provide an enormous boost to their self-confidence and self-esteem and provide them with positive experiences that will help them in all other areas of their lives."
Model Policy for Transgender Students on High School Teams
For guidelines for creating inclusive athletic policies for high school teams and a sample model policy for high school athletics, see our Model Policy .
High School Policies
The below listed policies are high school policies set by the state's high school athletics association. They are not necessarily reflective of middle school policies, but many states follow the high school policies if they do not have their own. Middle school policies are more difficult to track, but will be added as we learn of them.
STATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION GUIDANCE ON INCLUSION OF TRANSGENDER AND NONBINARY STUDENTS & STATE ATHLETIC BAN LEGISLATION OR EXECUTIVE ORDERS
GLSEN advocates for policies that ensure that transgender (trans) and nonbinary students can participate in sports on a team or in competition based on their gender identity. There are 16 states (including D.C) that have friendly policies that help facilitate the full inclusion of trans and nonbinary students in high school athletics. There are 6 states with guidance that exclude trans and nonbinary students by requiring students to participate in athletics based on their birth certificate or their sex assigned at birth. Another 3 states bar trans and nonbinary students from participation unless they have undergone surgery. Discriminatory restriction policies that create additional barriers to inclusion of trans and nonbinary students are in place in 16 states. Finally, there are 10 states that have not issued any statewide guidance on best practices that should be implemented in schools leaving students to navigate a patchwork of policies that differ between local education agencies and schools in the state. Additionally, some states have passed discriminatory legislation barring gender-affirming participation of transgender student athletes, and only allow students to compete on teams based on the sex listed on an existing birth certificate. This began with HB 500 in Idaho in 2020, and since then a rash of similar bills have been introduced in more than 30 states, with legislation being enacted in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia, thus far during the 2021 legislative cycle. Furthermore, the governor of South Dakota has issued a state ban via executive order. The Idaho law is currently being challenged in federal court in Hecox v. Little.
Policies by state
Green: Friendly state guidance
Blue: Guidance that requires medical "proof" and/or invasive disclosures
Red: discriminatory state guidance that includes multiple harmful components
Black: No state guidance
Alabama - discriminatory
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) says participation in athletics should be determined by the gender indicated on the student-athlete’s certified certificate of birth.
DOWNLOAD: AHSAA Case studies 2013 (policy position on page 13)
The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) allows each school district to make its own policy and says it will accept whatever policy is in place at the student’s school. This means there may be inclusive policies at one school district, and discriminatory policies at another, without consistency throughout the state.
Additionally, if a school district doesn’t have a written policy, a student “may only participate based on their gender assigned at birth."
Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) policy listed in its 2018-2019 AIA Policies and Procedures Handbook is listed as the "Transgender Policy" and states the following (note: both "Gender" and "Identity" are misspelled in this policy's heading and within the policy, but we assume we know what they mean"):
"GENDER IDENTITY PARTICIPATION – all students should have the opportunity to participate in Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the sex listed on a student’s eligibility for participation in interscholastic athletics or in a gender that does not match the sex at birth, via the following procedure below. Once the student has been granted eligibility to participate in interscholastic athletics consistent with the athlete's gender identity, the eligibility is granted for the duration of the student’s participation and does not need to be renewed every sport season or school year. All discussion and documentation will be kept confidential, and the proceedings will be sealed unless the student and family make a specific request."
The steps required are: notice to the school, notice to AIA, and supporting documentation.
DOWNLOAD: AIA Transgender Policy 2019-2020 (page 11)
Arkansas - discriminatory
The Arkansas High School Activities Association uses birth certificate as the designator for participation. The policy states:
"Arkansas birth certificates state the sex of the person. The birth certificate is the document the AAA relies upon to determine participation in girls or boys activities where applicable. The AAA will accept a changed birth certificate concerning sex which is allowed under ACA Sec. 20-18-307.
If a sport is offered for members of each gender, athletes must participate with members of their own gender in district, region, state, or overall competition, except for female athletes who must choose prior to the district/conference tournament to waive their opportunity to compete in girls state competition in order to compete on a boys team in a district/conference or state competition. (AAA rules permit girls to play on the football and baseball teams.)"
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) policy says "All students should have the opportunity to participate in CIF activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records. The student and/or the student’s school may seek review of the student’s eligibility for participation in interscholastic athletics in a gender that does not match the gender assigned to him or her at birth, via the following procedure below should either the student or the school have questions or need guidance in making the determination."
On January 1, 2014, California Assembly Bill 1266 went into effect, allowing students to participate in athletics and sex-segregated activities in accordance with their gender identity. This law prohibits public schools from discriminating on the basis of specified characteristics, including gender, gender identity, and gender expression, and specifies various statements of legislative intent and the policies of the state in that regard. Existing law requires that participation in a particular physical education activity or sport, if required of pupils of one sex, be available to pupils of each sex. This bill would require that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil's records.
The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in California public schools.
The California Safe Schools Coalition, a statewide partnership of organizations and individuals dedicated to eliminating discrimination and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity in California schools, has a detailed model school district policy regarding transgender and gender non-conforming students.
The document says, "Under state law, public schools and non-religious private schools that receive state funding, have a legal duty to protect students from discrimination and harassment on the basis of actual and perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, or on the basis of association with a person with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics."
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has a clear set of guidelines for the inclusion of trans students, which includes specifics about athletic participation and locker room use, as well as addressing students by preferred names and pronouns.
Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) has a policy for trans athletes which states, "in order to insure appropriate gender assignment for purposes of athletic eligibility, a transgender student-athlete's home school will perform a confidential evaluation to determine the gender assignment for the prospective student-athlete." In a 2014 article, Bethany Brookens, an assistant commissioner at CHSAA, says Colorado's policy is to let transgender student athletes compete as members of whatever gender they self-identify.
The Transgender Procedure and Policy document outlines the policies and appeals procedures regarding transgender athletes.
DOWNLOAD: CHSAA Transgender Procedure and Policy
Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) is committed to providing transgender student-athletes with equal opportunities to
participate in CIAC athletic programs consistent with their gender identity.
Public Act No. 11-55 - AN ACT CONCERNING DISCRIMINATION is a Connecticut law effective October 1, 2011, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in all areas and contexts in which the laws already prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.
Connecticut Safe Schools Coalition has a document called Guidelines for Connecticut Schools to Comply with GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION NON-DISCRIMINATION LAWS, which outlines locker room use, sports and gym class assignments, and restroom access for students in a question and answer format.
The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) policy states:
a. A transgender student, defined as a student whose gender identity differs from the student’s birth sex, shall be eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics in a manner that is consistent with the student’s gender identity, under any of the following conditions:
i. The student provides an official record, such as a revised birth certificate, a driver’s license or a passport, demonstrating legal recognition of the students reassigned sex, or
ii. A physician certifies that the student has had appropriate clinical treatment for transition to the reassigned sex, or
iii. A physician certifies that the student is in the process of transition to the reassigned sex.
iv. The determination of a student’s sex-assignment for interscholastic athletics shall be made by the student’s school.
v. The determination of a student’s sex-assignment for interscholastic athletics shall remain in effect for the duration of the student’s high school eligibility.
b. Any member school may appeal the eligibility of a transgender student on the grounds that the student’s participation in interscholastic athletics would adversely affect competitive equity or safety of teammates or opposing players.
c. Any such appeal will be heard by the DIAA Board of Directors.
d. The identity of the student shall remain confidential and at the request of the student’s parents the hearing will be confidential.
DOWNLOAD: DIAA policy
The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) policy for gender identity participation in sports states, "All eligible students should have the opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity and expression, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s birth certificate and/or records. "
DOWNLOAD: 2019-2020 FHSAA Administrative Policies (gender identity policy on page 72)
Georgia - discriminatory
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) bylaw 1.47 states GHSA will allow each school to make determinations on gender, but the website's official statement of interpretation of the rule states:
"Interpretation of Gender Designation
INTERPRETATION OF BY-LAW 1.47
GHSA By-law 1.47 reads as follows: “Girls may participate on boys’ teams when there is no girls’ team offered in that sport by the school. Boys are not allowed to play on girls’ teams even when there is no corresponding boys’ sport. (NOTE: Cheerleading is a coed sport.)
INTERPRETATION: A student’s gender is determined by the gender noted on his/her birth certicate (sic).
1.47 A student’s gender is determined as follows:
(a) Girls may participate on boys’ teams when there is no girls’ team offered in that sport or activity by the school. Boys may not participate on girls’ teams even when there is no corresponding boys’ sport or activity. Cheerleading is a coed sport.
(b) The GHSA will honor a gender determination made by a member school. The GHSA will not make gender identity determinations nor entertain appeals of the member school’s determination.
(c) The GHSA will attempt to accommodate requests for private restroom or locker/dressing room facilities for students requesting the same at GHSA playoff events or contests provided notice of the request is made as soon as possible to the GHSA office. No student shall be required to utilize the private facilities.
DOWNLOAD: GHSA constitution 2019-20
Hawaii - NO POLICY
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) has no policy on transgender athlete participation. Schools in Hawaii have guidance on respectful treatment of transgender students, including that schools should recognize and respect a student's gender identity, students should be able to dress according to their gender identity, and schools should grant transgender students access to whichever bathroom or locker room they feel most comfortable in - however, the guidelines provide no clarity for participation of trans athletes.
Idaho - discriminatory
In March 2020, Idaho became the first state in the country to make a law to prevent the participation of high school and college athletes who are transgender. The "Fairness in Women's Sports Act" (known as HB500) The Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) policy requires transgender athletes to make a medical transition and allows for participation with the following conditions:
A. A female-to-male transgender student athlete who is taking a medically prescribed hormone treatment under a physicians care for the purposes of gender transition may participate only on a boys team.
B. A male-to-female transgender student athlete is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate only on a boys team.
C. A male-to-female transgender student athlete who is taking medically prescribed hormone treatment under a physicians care for the purposes of gender transition may participate on a boys team at any time, but must complete one year of hormone treatment related to the gender transition before competing on a girls team.
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has a school and association policy regarding transgender student athletes participation.
1) The student and/or parents shall contact the school administrator or athletic director at their member school notifying them that the student has a different gender identity than listed on the student’s school registration card or birth certificate and that the student wishes to participate in athletics/activities in a manner consistent with their gender identity. The school shall collect the following for the participation ruling:
a. Gender identity used for school registration records
b. Medical documentation (hormonal treatments, sexual re-assignment surgery, counseling, medical
c. Gender Identity related advantages for approved participation
2) Once the school administrator has collected the relevant information, the member school shall contact the IHSA office in writing of the request for the ruling, the student’s gender identity, and the selected athletics/activities that the student would like the opportunity to participate in if they are selected through the team try-out process.
a. Once the student is approved, participation is granted through the duration of their high school career, it does not need to be annually renewed.
IHSA will make final rulings on student participation. The IHSA will establish a group of medical personnel to act in an advisory role when reviewing rulings. Appealing parties should provide the following documentation:
1) A current transcript and school registration information
2) Documentation of the student’s consistent gender identification (e.g. affirmation statements from student,parent/guardian, and/or health care provider.
3) Any other pertinent documentation or information
The IHSA will respond to the member school in writing the decision of the participation ruling.
DOWNLOAD: IHSA transgender student athlete policy
Indiana - discriminatory
The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) rules do not permit "transgender or transsexual, cross-dressing or similar types of student-athletes to participate on a member School’s team which is other than the team of the gender which matches the student’s birth gender. However, it may be demonstrated that the student’s birth gender has changed (changed gender), after which the student may only participate on a team of the changed gender. Proof of a student’s changed gender is shown by the following:
a. Providing reliable medical evidence that the student-athlete has undergone sex change before puberty, or
b. Providing reliable medical evidence that the student-athlete has undergone sex change after puberty, which should include evidence that surgical and anatomical changes have been completed, including genitalia changes and gonadectomy, that all hormonal therapies appropriate for the assigned sex have been administered in a verifiable manner, that sufficient length of time has occurred such as to minimize gender-related advantages and all legal recognition of the sex change has been conferred with all proper governmental agencies (A copy of the student’s amended birth certificate, a court order or other official state determination showing the student’s new gender will suffice).
c. In addition, to verify a student’s changed gender, the student may be required to submit to a confidential case-by-case evaluation by an IHSAA Gender Committee relative to the gender change."
DOWNLOAD: IHSAA Gender Policy
Iowa - discriminatory
The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IAHSAA) has separate associations for girls and boys sports.
FOR MALE ATHLETES: "The transgender student at an Iowa High School Athletic Association member school who identifies as male, despite having been born with female genitals, shall be allowed to fully compete as a male as long as he consistently identifies as a male at school, home and socially."
DOWNLOAD: IHSAA transgender participation policy
FOR FEMALE ATHLETES: "The transgender student at an Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union member school who identifies as a female despite having been born with male genitals shall be allowed to fully compete as a female as long as she consistently identifies as a female at school, home and socially — subject to item “a." (NOTE: can not find item "a" for reference)
ALSO: "The IGHSAU will not make decisions or offer input into specific situations occurring at local school districts. All authority and obligation to abide by and implement Iowa Code Chapter 216 with respect to transgender student-athletes will remain with the local school district. Eligibility of a transgender student-athlete will be presumed. However, if there arises at the local level a documented eligibility controversy, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union shall have the authority under the applicable Iowa Administrative Code to determine eligibility."
DOWNLOAD: IGHSAU transgender statement
The Code of Iowa clearly delineates unfair practices and discriminatory acts in education. IOWA Section 216.9 Unfair or discriminatory practices – education reads:
1. It is an unfair or discriminatory practice for any educational institution to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability in any program or activity. Such discrimination practices shall include but not be limited to the following practices:
a. Exclusion of a person or persons from participation in, denial of the benefits of, or subjection to discrimination in any academic, extracurricular, research, occupational training, or other programs or activity except athletic programs;
b. Denial of comparable opportunity in intramural and interscholastic athletic programs;
c. Discrimination among persons in employment and the conditions of employment;
d. On the basis of sex, the application of any rule concerning the actual or potential parental, family or marital status of a person, or the exclusion of any person from any program or activity or employment because of pregnancy or related conditions dependent upon the physician’s diagnosis and certification.
2. For the purpose of this section, “educational institution” includes any preschool, elementary or secondary schools, community college, area education agency, or post-secondary college or university and their governing boards. This section does not prohibit an educational institution from maintaining separate toilet facilities, locker rooms, or living facilities for the different sexes so long as comparable facilities are provided. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting any bona fide religious institution from imposing qualifications based on religion, sexual orientation or gender identity when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose or any institution from admitting students of only one sex. The Code of Iowa clearly defines “Gender identity.” Section 216.2 Definitions. Reads: “When used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires: “Gender identity” means a gender-related identity of a person, regardless of a person’s assigned sex at birth.”
The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) policy says the school is responsible to determine the appropriate gender team for participation by the student. Once this determination is made, the school "is responsible to notify the KSHSAA if a student intends to participate on a team opposite their birth gender." Notification must be given prior to entering the student in the KSHSAA eligibility system and allowing participation. KSHSAA handles all disputes.
DOWNLOAD: KSHSAA transgender participation policy
Kentucky - discriminatory
The Kentucky High School Activities Association policy is among the worse in the country, requiring student-athletes to participate in accordance with their birth certificate or to have gender reassignment surgery.
This policy is specific to eligibility to participate in the privilege of interscholastic athletics:
a) Each student-athlete shall participate according to the gender as listed on their birth certificate unless they were legally reassigned.
b) Reassignment may be demonstrated through the use of a birth certificate, driver’s license, passport or other certified medical record as verified to the member school.
c) Each member school is responsible for making this initial determination for its student-athlete.
d) A student-athlete who has undergone sex reassignment is eligible to compete in the reassigned gender, provided such is not precluded by additional adopted bylaw or policy, when:
(1) The student-athlete has undergone sex reassignment before puberty, or
(2) The student-athlete has undergone sex reassignment after puberty under all of the following conditions:
a. Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy;
b. Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sports competition; and
c. If a student-athlete stops taking hormonal treatment, they will be required to participate in the sport consistent with their birth gender.
Lousiana - discriminatory
As part of the Gender Equity Statement, the Lousiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) the LHSAA has adopted a position on Gender Identity Participation. While this adopted position of Gender Identification is not LHSAA policy, it is intended to serve as a guideline to help direct the member schools and the LHSAA administration regarding student participation regardless of their gender identity under certain conditions. A student-athlete shall compete in the gender of their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex reassignment. A student-athlete who has undergone sex reassignment must go through the hardship appeal process to become eligible for interscholastic competition. The Hardship Committee shall consider all of the facts of the situation and shall rule the student-athlete eligible to compete in the reassigned gender when:
1. The student-athlete has undergone sex reassignment before puberty, OR
2. The student-athlete has undergone sex reassignment after puberty under all of the following conditions:
a. Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy.
b. All legal recognition of the sex reassignment has been conferred with all the proper governmental agencies (Driver’s license, voter registration, etc.)
c. Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sports competition.
d. Athletic eligibility in the reassigned gender can begin no sooner than two years after all surgical and anatomical changes have been completed.
The Maine Principals’ Association policy states, Consistent with its principles, the MPA believes that all students should have the opportunity to participate in MPA activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, unless such participation would result in an unfair athletic advantage or would present an unacceptable risk of injury to other student athletes."
Maryland protects transgender students against discrimination based on gender identity. Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) has a policy which states "each school system should develop and apply criteria for students to participate on interscholastic athletic teams consistent with their bona fide gender identity." Also:
"To ensure competitive fairness and equal opportunities to participate without discrimination, local criteria for transgender persons should reflect the following:
A.Transgender students can participate on the interscholastic athletics team of the student’s birth gender.
B.Transgender students can participate on interscholastic athletics teams of the gender that the student has transitioned to. This may be supported by medical documentation (hormonal therapy, sexual re-assignment surgery, counseling, etc.) confirming transition of gender.
C.Transgender students may compete on the interscholastic team of the gender the student identifies with, as recognized by the local school system and established in official school system records. (This may differ from the student’s gender listed in school system records).
DOWNLOAD: MPSSAA Transgender Policy
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has a document called Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity.
The document outlines expectations for locker rooms and changing facilities, physical education classes, and intramural and interscholastic athletic activities. The document says, "Where there are sex-segregated classes or athletic activities, including intramural and interscholastic athletics, all students must be allowed to participate in a manner consistent with their gender identity."
Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) will rely on the gender determination made by the student’s district; it will not make separate gender identity determinations.
Framingham Public Schools created a transgender policy — potentially the first of its kind in Massachusetts — which guarantees students the right to play on sports teams that align with their gender identity (3/13/18).
The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) adopted a Transgender Policy at its May 2012 Representative Council Meeting to approve policies and procedures by which the MHSAA executive director will determine the eligibility of transgender students in MHSAA tournaments. The document stating the policies and procedures is to be provided to schools when requested on a case-by-case basis.
In 2016, the State of Michigan provided guidance instructing schools to allow transgender athletes to participate in accordance to their gender identity.
The Minnesota High School Sports League (MSHSL) allows participation for all students consistent with their gender identity or expression in an environment free from discrimination with an equal opportunity for participation in athletics and fine arts. The MSHSL voted in December 2014 to open up girls’ sports to transgender student-athletes. The decision took effect in the 2015-16 school year, making the state the 33rd to adopt a formal transgender student policy. The board set out criteria for determining whether transgender students who were born male but identify as female can be eligible for girls’ teams at the nearly 500 schools in the league’s membership. State law already permits girls to compete in boys’ sports. The new process for establishing eligibility will include written statements from a student’s parents or guardians and health care professionals regarding the student’s “consistent or sincerely held gender-related identity." A school’s activities director will make the eligibility decision, with appeals heard by an independent hearing officer.
Religious-affiliated private schools will be exempt from complying with the league’s new language.
Mississippi - NO POLICY
The Mississippi High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has no policy on transgender athlete participation.
While MHSAA has no policy, in April 2016 HB1523 passed, allowing cover for those enforcing "sex-specific policies for employee or student dress or grooming, or concerning access to restrooms, showers, dressing rooms, or locker rooms." This means trans athletes could be discriminated against or forced to use the rest room and locker room in alignment with the sex assigned on their birth certificate.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) allows transgender males using hormone therapy (testosterone) to participate on a men's team, and allows transgender women to play on men's teams for the first year of documented testosterone suppression, after which she would be eligible to play on a women's team.
A transgender student will be defined as a student whose gender identity does not match the sex assigned to him or her at birth as reflected on the student’s birth certificate or school records. A transgender student must meet the following in order to participate in sex-separated interscholastic sports so long as the
athlete’s use of hormone therapy is consistent with current medical standards:
• A trans male (female to male) student-athlete who has undergone treatment with testosterone for gender transition may compete on a boys team but is no longer eligible to compete on a girls team without changing the team status to a mixed team. A mixed team is eligible only for boys championships.
• A trans female (male to female) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for gender transition may continue to compete on a boys team but may not compete on a girls team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of documented testosterone-suppression treatment.
This policy was taken from the approved NCAA Transgender Policy, approved September 13, 2011. (June 2012)
Montana - NO POLICY
The Montana High School Association (MHSA) has no policy on transgender athlete participation, but support is growing. The topic is was the agenda for January 2015 discussion, but was removed from conversation due to insufficient support. The topic is no longer in discussion, and Montana remains without a policy.
Nebraska - discriminatory
April 2016. Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) requires transgender students wishing to participate in athletics to show evidence of hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery to demonstrate a “consistent gender identity.” The policy also calls for a review by an NSAA committee in cases of transgender girls.
Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) adopted its position on transgender student-athletes in January 2014 and updated in 2016. While not an NIAA regulation, the guideline serves as a way to direct member and affiliate schools on the subject. Transgender athletes will be allowed to compete in sanctioned sports “in accordance with his or her gender identity irrespective to the gender listed on the student’s birth certificate,” the NIAA said in a statement posted on its website.
DOWNLOAD: NIAA recommendation for transgender athletes.
New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) allows transgender students to participate when the student and parent(s)/guardian notify the school in writing at least two months prior to the season they intend to participate in athletics that the student has a consistent gender identity different than the gender of the student’s birth certificate and list the sport(s) in which the student would like to participate. The school may use the following criteria to determine participation:
Current transcript and school registration information
A written statement from the student affirming the consistent gender identity and expression to which the student self-relates.
Documentation from individuals such as, but not limited to parents, friends, and/or teachers, which affirm that the actions, attitudes, dress and manner demonstrate the student’s consistent gender identification and expression.
Written verification from an appropriate health-care professional (doctor, psychiatrist, and psychologist) of the student’s consistent gender identification and expression.
Medical documentation (hormonal therapy, sexual re-assignment surgery, counseling, medical personnel, etc.)
The policy allows another member school to object and begin a review process of the player's eligibility, but the appeal process allows for input from the student athlete and their family.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) transgender policy allows students to participate in a manner consistent with the student's gender identity. Under the new regulations (updated November 2017), transgender students will be eligible to participate in accordance with either their birth sex or in accordance with their gender identity, but not both. Medical consultation is no longer required.
LINK: Transgender policy gets overhaul by state athletic association (Nov 16, 2017)
New Mexico - discriminatory
The New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) updated 2019 policy states: Participating students are required to compete in the gender listed on their original or amended birth certificate.
New York State Public High School Athletic Association has passed guidelines stating that students wishing to participate in sports and parents/guardians must notify the Superintendent and Athletic Director of the District if a student has a gender identity different from what is listed on their birth certificate. The school will use gender identity used for school registration and other purposes, medical documentation, and "gender identity related advantage for approved participation" to determine a student's eligibility. The guidelines will allow transgender students to participate, IF the school follows them - as guidelines, schools are not required to follow the recommendations of allowing trans athletes to participate in accordance with gender identity.
NEW YORK CITY
New York City's Department of Education includes protections for both gender identity and gender expression in its statement on discrimination/harassment. On March 10, 2014, the NYC Department of Education announced specific protections for transgender students. Regarding athletics, their policy calls for inclusion with case-by-case review for competitive activities and contact sports. It also does not require schools to allow students to use facilities in accordance with their gender identity.
"Transgender students are to be provided the same opportunities to participate in physical education as are all other students. Generally, students should be permitted to participate in physical education and sports in accordance with the student’s gender identity that is consistently asserted at school. Participation in competitive athletic activities and contact sports will be resolved on a case-by-case basis."
DOWNLOAD: NYHSAA guidelines
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) met in May 2019 to adopt a new inclusive policy for transgender student-athletes. Students not on hormones may compete according to the sex listed on their birth certificate. In a case where a student's identity does not match their birth certificate, they may submit a Gender Identity Request form to compete in sports in the gender they identify with and live their lives as.
The North Dakota High School Athletic Association (NDHSAA) policy says a transgender student who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in a sex-separated interscholastic contest in accordance with the sex assigned to him or her at birth.
The following clarifies participation in sex-separated interscholastic contests of transgender students undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition:
• A trans male (female to male) student who has undergone treatment with testosterone for gender transition may compete in a contest for boys but is no longer eligible to compete in a contest for girls.
• A trans female (male to female) student being treated with testosterone suppression medication for gender transition may continue to compete in a contest for boys but may not compete in a contest for girls until completing one calendar year of documented testosterone-suppression treatment.
DOWNLOAD: NDHSAA policy
As of Jan 2020, the last update for this policy remains 2015.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) policy states, "a transgender female (or male-to-female (MTF) transgender student athlete) who is taking medically prescribed hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate on a boy’s team at any time. However, before a transgender female can compete in a girl’s sport or on a girl’s team, the transgender female must either (1) have completed a minimum of one year of hormone treatment related to gender transition or (2) demonstrate to the Commissioner’s Office by way of sound medical evidence that the transgender female student athlete does not possess physical (bone structure, muscle mass, testosterone, hormonal, etc.) or physiological advantages over genetic females of the same age group.
A transgender male (or female-to-male (FTM) transgender student athlete) who has not yet begun medically prescribed testosterone treatment for purposes of gender transition may compete on a boy’s team. If the transgender male student athlete is taking medically prescribed testosterone
treatment, he can participate on a boy's team but must have his hormone levels checked regularly.
DOWNLOAD: OHSAA Transgender Participation Policy
As of Jan 2020, the most recent update of this policy is 2018.
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) goes into effect July 1 and allows athletic eligibility of transgender student-athletes based on certain guidelines that center around medical therapy from a licensed physician. The OSSAA’s policy requires male-to-female students to complete at least one year of hormone therapy before being allowed to participate on girls teams.
The Oregon School Athletic Association (OSAA) policy states that transgender students may participate in the category associated with their gender identity without restrictions. Gender fluid and non-binary youth may participate in the category they choose, but may not change that category during the season.
LINK: OSAA 2019 Handbook (page 71)
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc (PIAA) has a policy on "mixed-gender participation" which includes some phrasing about transgender students. However, the policy allows a school's principal to make the final decision about what gender a student is and which team they may play on, without outlining any criteria for the decision making process.
The policy says, "Where a student’s gender is questioned or uncertain, the PIAA will accept the principal’s decision as to the student’s gender.
While this wording does encourage school districts to be proactive about making policies for trans participation, it does not guide the school districts in any direction and still allows one person (principal) to make a decision about a player's eligibility.
DOWNLOAD: PIAA Transgender Policy (page 116)
The Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) policy says, "The RIIL recognizes the value of participation in interscholastic sports for all member school student athletes. The RIIL is committed to providing all student-athletes with equal opportunities to participate in RIIL athletic programs consistent with their gender identity. This policy addresses eligibility determinations for students who have a gender identity that is different from the gender listed on their official birth certificates. "
South Carolina - NO POLICY
The South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) has no policy on transgender athlete participation.
South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSSA) policy states, "All students should have the opportunity to participate in SDHSAA activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records."
Tennessee - NO POLICY
The Tennessee Secondary School Activities Association (TSSAA) has no policy on transgender athlete participation.
Texas - discriminatory
In February 2016, Texas school superintendents voted to use a student's birth certificate to determine a student-athlete’s gender for participation in sports. The legislative council of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the governing body for Texas high school sports, recommended the amendment in October. According to UIL, if the amendment is approved by Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, it will take effect in August 2016.
The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) policy states a "student shall be permitted to participate on a gender specific sports team that is consistent with the public gender identity of that student for all other purposes."
DOWNLOAD: Utah High School Activities Association Handbook (page 24)
The Vermont Principals’ Association Gender Identity policy states, "all students should have the opportunity to participate in Vermont Principals’ Association activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records."
DOWNLOAD: Vermont Principals' AssociationTransgender Policy (page 4)
The Virginia High School League (VHSL) updated its policy in December 2014. The new policy eliminates the strict requirement of "sex reassignment surgery," allowing a student to participate in sports if they are verified as having “a consistent identity different than the gender listed on the student’s official birth certificate,” or have already begun some form of hormone therapy. The policy emphasizes that the gender identity must be “bona fide” and requires a process that involves a number of officials verifying that identity.
UPDATE January 2016: In Virginia, a state lawmaker recently proposed a bill that would require schoolchildren and others to use public bathrooms that corresponded to their “anatomical sex” and called for fining those who don’t comply.
DOWNLOAD: VHSL Policy update
The Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) policy says, "All students should have the opportunity to participate in WIAA activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records."
The 2013-14 WIAA handbook details the policies for trans athletes and includes procedures for ensuring access to participation.
DOWNLOAD: 2019-20 WIAA Handbook (page 32)
The District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) supports the process outlined in the download to address the participation of transgender students in all DCSAA state finals series in interscholastic athletics as it aligns with the DC Human Rights Act, Title IX, and other laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination or participation in interscholastic programs and activities sponsored by the DCSAA.
All students should have the opportunity to participate in DCSAA activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records or identification documents. Schools should allow students to participate in DCSAA activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity.
DOWNLOAD: DCSAA Handbook 2013 (page 68 for policy).
West Virginia - NO POLICY
The West Virginia Secondary School Athletic Commission (WVSSAC ) has no policy on transgender athlete participation.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) policy based on policies from Washington, Colorado, and NCAA.
DOWNLOAD: WIAA (WI) Transgender Participation Policy.
School districts have started working towards creating their own policies.
The Wyoming High School Athletic Association (WHSAA) states all students should be considered for the opportunity to participate in Wyoming High School Activities Association activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records. However, independent review from the member school may be used to make a determination, with one category being "balancing the effects the approval would have on the individual and those other individuals that would be affected by the change."
The student’s member school will be the first point of determination for the student’s eligibility to participate in WHSAA sanctioned activities. The student and/or parent shall notify the school administrator or activities director, in writing, indicating that the student has a consistent gender identity different than the gender listed on the student’s school registration records, and that the student desires to participate in activities in a manner consistent with his/her gender identity.
The member school may use the following non-exclusive list of criteria to determine participation:
• Gender identity from school registration records
• Medical documentation (hormonal therapy, sexual re-assignment surgery, counseling, medical personnel, etc.)
• Balancing the effects the approval would have on the individual and those other individuals that would be affected by the change.
DOWNLOAD: WHSAA transgender participation policy (page 40).
High School Organization Policy
National Scholastic Athletics Foundation
The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation is the organization responsible for the New Balance Nationals Indoor track championships. The organization uses the USATF policy which follows the IOC policy, which is inappropriate for high school athletes.
On Feb. 26, 2019, NSAF released a statement to announce its transgender athlete policy in advance of the 2019 national championship races:
February 25, 2019 – Different states have adopted different approaches to the eligibility of transgender girls in public education-based sport, based on their particular goals for their co- and extra-curricular events. The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated in part to staging national-level elite development events and to providing equal competitive opportunities to girls and boys. We are also a member organization of USA Track & Field and so subject to its rules. Even though our organization’s goals are often different from those of public school sports, we are committed to including transgender athletes in our events who have met our requirements so that we can ensure to the extent possible fair competition for all entrants.
Recognizing the rapidly changing landscape and the different approaches adopted across the country, the NSAF began work on its transgender policy in Spring 2018. It was finalized in Fall 2018. Because our focus is elite development sport, harmonization of our rules with those of our sport’s national governing body, USA Track & Field, was and remains an additional priority.
Pre-pubescent transgender girls are eligible for NSAF competitions based on their affirmed gender. Consistent with USATF rules and IOC guidelines, post-pubescent transgender girls are eligible for NSAF competitions based on their affirmed gender once they have completed a year’s course of gender affirming hormones. Gender affirming surgery may also satisfy the policy requirements but is not required.
The Alberta Schools' Athletic Association (ASAA) policy allows any transgender student-athlete to participate fully and safely in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with their gender identity.
DOWNLOAD: ASAA Handbook 2017-2018 (page 43)
The Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association (MHSAA) policy allows any transgender student-athlete to participate fully and safely in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with his or her gender identity.
LINK: MHSAA Transgender Policy
Vancouver, BC, Canada
In June 2014, Vancouver School Board (BC, Canada) passed great protections for trans youth. Regarding athletics, the new policy says:
a) Where possible, students will be permitted to participate in any sex-segregated recreational and competitive athletic activities, in accordance with their gender identity. Due to issues of disclosure and safety, some students may wish to participate in a sex- segregated activity that is not aligned with their gender
b) Trans students shall be provided the same opportunities to participate in physical education as all other students, shall not be asked or required to have
physical education outside of the assigned class time, and shall be permitted to participate in any sex-segregated activities in accordance with their gender
identity if they so choose.
DOWNLOAD: Vancouver School Board Draft policy June 2014.