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Manhattan School Board Approves Resolution That Could Ban Transgender Athletes From Girls’ Sports

A school board in a Manhattan school district has pushed ahead and approved a resolution, Resolution 248, that could ban transgender athlete participation in girls’ sports. The resolution empowers the city’s Department of Education to review policies permitting transgender athlete participation. The school board’s vote on the matter came despite strong community criticism of it.

As background, the Manhattan school district’s vote on the matter comes amidst a larger, national fight over whether it is unfair to biological women to allow transgender athletes to participate in girls’ sports, or whether it is more unfair and discriminatory to ban transgender athletes from participating. Some women’s sports advocates, such as Riley Gaines, have even taken to the courts in an attempt to force a decision on the issue.

In any case, here it was Community Education Council District 2 that voted on the matter and approved REsolution 248 8 to 3, thus allowing the city’s Department of Education to review the policies that have led to transgender athlete participation in girls’ sports. In addition to allowing review of those policies, it calls for parent involvement in future decisions made on the matter.

To review the policies, the resolution demands the NYC DOE create a commission tasked specifically with reviewing its Guidelines on Gender, the current version of which allows athletes to compete in sports based on their gender identity. Such a commission would. KATV reports, “include perspectives from public school female athletes, coaches, medical professionals and ‘evolutionary biology experts.’”

Speaking about the resolution and decision to pass it, Community Education Council District 2 board president Leonard Silverman said, “One of the things that I think every member of this council strives for is greater parent engagement, greater parent involvement and a partnership with the DOE, specifically on issues that are involving our children – whether it’s a social issue, whether it’s an academic issue.”

Linda Quarles, a local parent, commented on the matter to KATV, saying that the issue is not settled, domestically or globally, saying, “There is actually not a widespread consensus internationally or globally on the benefit or harm. Every day, a state or country or sport are changing their rules and regulations, so I don’t think this is a settled matter.

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On the other side of things, Councilmember Erik Bottcher said, “This resolution not only goes against principles of fairness and conclusion, but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes and bias against a population that is already subject to vicious discrimination or harassment.”

Bottcher added that the decision could have negative effects on the school community, saying,  “Discriminating against transgender students not only harms the targeted individuals. It also negatively impacts the entire school community and fosters a hostile environment that can lead to increased bullying, harassment and violence, creating an unsafe atmosphere for all students.

Watch the District meeting on the matter here:

Councilmember Maud Maron, commenting on the resolution, said, “The gender guidelines apply to all students, so all students should have had a say in developing them.” Maron added, “True inclusivity means listening to everyone and listening to ideas you may not agree with. The resolution is advisory and merely asks for a review and redrafting of the gender guidelines after input from more stakeholders.”

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