Manhattan School Board Seeks Public Review of Transgender Sports Policy

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
March 23, 2024New York
Manhattan School Board Seeks Public Review of Transgender Sports Policy
Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn., on Feb. 7, 2019. (Pat Eaton-Robb/AP Photo File)

Manhattan’s largest neighborhood school board district approved a resolution that requests the city’s Department of Education (DOE) to allow a public review of its policy that permits biological male athletes who identify as transgender to play female sports.

The measure also calls on the DOE to allow parental involvement in future decisions over the matter, reported the New York Post.

Resolution 248 was passed by Community Education Council (CEC) District 2 by a vote of 8-3. The resolution, however, has received sharp backlash from LGBT supporters.

The vote took place during a midtown Manhattan meeting which was attended by City Council members, district parents, and supporters of transgenderism, including actor Elliot Page.

Several speakers at the meeting responded with staunch criticism of the resolution.

“We are outraged that you’re considering a resolution targeting transgender girls and sports. It is utterly shocking that such a regressive and harmful resolution is being proposed in the school district in the middle of Manhattan,” said NYC Council member Erik Bottcher, a progressive Democrat, who spoke on behalf of himself and three state lawmakers.

According to CEC member Maud Maron, one of the resolution’s sponsors, the proposed measure, which is largely symbolic, does not discriminate against students who identify as transgender but serves to ignite open dialogue about who can participate in girls’ sports.

“If we have a proper and real conversation, one of the outcomes could be that nothing changes and that we all discover that these guidelines are just perfect as they are,” Ms. Maron explained, the New York Post reported.

“But another 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.”

The resolution, meanwhile, only serves as a request to senior DOE officials to review policies that are already supported by the department and do not explicitly impose a ban on male students in girls’ sports. CEC D2 members also see the measure as a means to ensure transparency on how such decisions are made.

The DOE issued a statement on March 20, where it reaffirmed its position on the issue.

“At New York City Public Schools, all students have the right to have their gender, gender identity, and gender expression recognized and respected. In our schools, every student can participate in sports and competitive athletics in accordance with their gender identity, and we prohibit any exclusion of students based on their gender identity or expression,” according to the statement.

CEC D2 president Leonard Silverman said despite the vote not carrying much weight, he is nonetheless pleased the measure got voted through.

“Unfortunately my experience has been that organizations including the community education councils, are sometimes created to give the appearance that parents have control over process when the reality is, that we really don’t have any control,” he said, according to the New York Post.

“It gives us an opportunity to look back and understand that the regulation is meeting its original intent,” Mr. Silverman added.

However, other initiatives have been taken in the state to address the issue of males participating in women’s sports, including an executive order that was signed by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, blocking transgender athletes from competing at county-run facilities.

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