New York School District Calls for Review of Gender Guidelines

New York School District Calls for Review of Gender Guidelines

Manhattan’s largest school board district voted March 20 to pass a resolution that calls for a review of the district’s guidelines that allow biological boys to compete in girls’ sports.

Resolution #248, passed by NYC Community Education Council (CEC) District 2, calls for a review of the New York Department of Education’s gender guidelines, which essentially did away with biological sex distinctions in school activities. The resolution calls for a comprehensive review of the guidelines, taking into account voices that were not considered when they were first adopted: parents, coaches, medical professionals and female athletes.

In 2019, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) adopted its first ever Guidelines on Gender that do away with any consideration of biological sex and focus only on a student’s perceived gender identity in all areas, including restroom and locker room use, clubs, classes, sexual education, gym classes and sports. The student’s school experience, according to these guidelines, is to be dictated by his or her “gender identity asserted at school.” The schools are permitted to hold or encourage very little, if any, gender-specific activities—they are even advised against having gender-specific yearbook superlatives, prom “kings” and “queens” or similar gender-related traditions.

The gender guidelines extending to sports state, “Generally, a student must be permitted to participate in physical education, intramural sports, and competitive athletic activities and contact sports in accordance with the student’s gender identity asserted at school.”

The resolution calls for the DOE to convene a gender guidelines review committee that includes biologically female Public School Athletic League athletes, coaches, parents, medical professionals and biology experts. The committee is to be authorized to propose amendments, changes and additions, “which are the result of an inclusive, evidence-based process concerning the impact on female athletes when the category of sex is replaced by gender identity.”

The CEC resolution says that the information available regarding the development and adoption of the gender guidelines shows that the only perspectives taken into account were those of NYC’s “LGBTQ Liaison” and stakeholders who already supported replacing biological sex with gender identity, and not those of parents, coaches, scientific experts and the female athletes who would have to compete against biological males.

Resolution #248 passed with an 8-3 vote after testimonies opposing and supporting the resolution were heard.

One parent at the CEC meeting emphasized the fact that this resolution is about having a “proper and real conversation.”

“If we have a proper and real conversation,” the parent said, “one of the possibilities is that we realize that the excluded voices had something really important to offer and they should have been heard from in the beginning.”

Along a similar vein in New York state, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman on Long Island signed an executive order last month prohibiting biological males from participating in women’s and girls’ sports in Nassau facilities. “If there is a league or team that advertises themselves to be women’s or girls, then biological males will not be able to compete,” Blakeman said. “There are women and girls that spend a tremendous amount of time and effort to excel and compete in their sports … and it is an unfair advantage for someone who is a biological male to compete against a biological female.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James threatened legal action against Blakeman earlier this month if he did not repeal the executive order, and Blakeman filed a lawsuit against the attorney general. A few days later, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the New York state affiliate of the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against Nassau County over Blakeman’s executive order.

Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council (FRC), said, “When trans sports policies are reviewed, everyone should consider that every time a biological male plays women’s sports … biological females sit on the sidelines.

“The message that this sends is that a woman’s contributions are not as valuable or important as a man’s,” she added.

Photo: Actionpics / Adobe Stock

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