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Arizona approves participation by transgender student-athlete

October 22, 2014 / Coaching
The Arizona Interscholastic Association this week approved the state’s first transgender student-athlete to play a sport.

This is significant progress for the transgender community, as The Arizona Republic reports that several cases have been reviewed and rejected in the past. We don’t know what was different about this case, as its details remain private to protect the student-athlete. Perhaps it reflects a new way of thinking.

From The Arizona Republic:

The AIA, Arizona’s high school sports governing body, doesn’t have legislation that opens the door for all transgender athletes to participate in sports. Chuck Schmidt, associate executive director of the AIA, said it is case by case, such as hardship appeals. 

“We look at the school,” Schmidt said. “Do they support the request? We look at the student. There is a lot of documentation to explore, the gender dysphoria. Are they working with medical professionals? Where are the parents and students themselves? What are their positions? How long have they identified as the opposite sex they were born?

“All of that is taken into consideration and the potential impact it would have on other students. All of those things came together. Based on all of the information, the subcommittee recommended approval, and it was supported by the board.”

At least 10 states have approved a transgender student-athlete’s participation, and 32 states have policies, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

In Coach and Athletic Director’s annual A.D. survey, we asked athletic administrators about the issues that concern them most. Those related to transgender and gay student-athletes ranked at the bottom.


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