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MSHSAA policy on transgender student-athletes null after new law went into effect


After a law called the "Save Women's Sports Act" by supporters went into effect Aug. 28, a Missouri State High School Athletic Association policy regarding transgender student-athletes is no longer relevant.

The "Save Women's Sports Act" requires any student-athlete to play on a team that matches the gender they were assigned at birth. According to MSHSAA, 10 students from 10 different schools are affected by the law.

Those 10 students had their eligibility as transgender students rescinded, MSHSAA spokesman Jason West said, and the schools were notified that the students now had to follow the new law. MSHSAA cannot disclose where those students go to school because of privacy policies.

"One expectation of membership is that member schools will follow state statutes," West said. "If there is ever a state law that contradicts a MSHSAA By-Law or policy, then that by-law or policy is changed to reflect the change in the state law. There was a policy for transgender participation in place, with this new law ... that policy is negated."

The MSHSAA handbook states its policy on transgender participation was nullified by state law and will not appear in next year's handbook.

Page 140 from the 2023 MSHSAA handbook

Robert Fischer with PROMO, an organization that lobbies on behalf of LGBTQ+ people, said some Missouri families are protesting this new law by creating recreation league teams for all genders.

"There is a conversation about how this is supposed to protect women's sports,  that it's supposed to protect opportunity, when in actuality there are serious concerns in women's sports already that have not been addressed," Fischer said.

Tipton R-VI School District does not have any transgender student athletes, however Superintendent Terry Robinson, PhD, said he supports this law.

"It has taken many years to build these opportunities for women and to see them negatively impacted by making their playing field unbalanced is not in the best interest of public schools," Robinson said.

This law was passed at the same time as another law banning gender transition care for minors in Missouri. Because of that law, Washington University Hospital in St. Louis and the University of Missouri Health System in Columbia both ended their transgender care options for minors. WashU announced the end of its treatments Monday, saying the new law created too much liability for the hospital.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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