Transgender athletes have been a hot-button issue as of late, but trans student athletes in New Jersey may have good news to celebrate.
The Associated Press reported that the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association approved a new policy on Wednesday that makes it easier for student athletes to change documentation to better reflect their gender identity.
Previously, students needed a doctor's note or other official documentation in order to participate in activities that correspond with their gender identity (for example, girls' basketball or boys' basketball). Now, students will simply need to notify the school administration of their identity.
Stephen Goodell, an NJSIAA attorney, told AP that the organization had heard from members of the transgender community who felt that students shouldn't have to prove their gender identity, and decided to act promptly instead of waiting for the state education department to take action.
"They really made a convincing case that this is not something the students are making up to try to game the system," Goodell told AP. "We wanted to give our schools firm guidance on how this should happen."
It's a relatively small step, but in light of all the protections that the Trump administration has stripped from transgender people, it's a step in the right direction that will hopefully pave the way for the long overdue equality that transgender people deserve.
Gender and sexual orientation are both highly personal and constantly evolving. So, in honor of Transgender Awareness Week, we're talking about the importance of language and raising the voices of the LGBTQIA community. Welcome to Gender Nation, where gender is defined by the people who live it. Want to learn more? Check out our Gender Nation glossary.
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