Minneapolis Star Tribune Runs Ad Denouncing Transgender-Inclusive Sports Teams for Students

Transgender rights have been making serious strides in the past few months, but it seems like every time a little progress is made, someone shows up to rain on our pride parade. Today, that someone is the Minnesota Child Protection League, which ran a transphobic ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune denouncing a proposal for trans-inclusive sports teams.The proposed policy change to Minnesota state high schools would allow transgender students to play on sports teams based on their chosen identity rather than gender at birth, the Huffington Post reports. It has faced seemingly endless months of opposition, including a similar transphobic ad by the same organization back in September, and it doesn't look like the controversy is dying down anytime soon. The Minnesota Child Protection League (MCPL) took out the second full-page anti-transgender ad in the Minneapolis paper on Sunday, and it's just as uninformed and alarmist as you'd expect. "The END of girls' sports!" it screams desperately, before claiming that the change would lead to MEN showering with YOUR LITTLE GIRL. Aside from the incredible irony of the organization choosing a photo previously used on the cover of a young adult lesbian novel, the ad completely misses the point of the policy, sports writer and LGBT rights advocate Christina Karhl told the Huffington Post.

Wildly asserting that allowing transgender students to play team sports is going to end with teenage boys pretending to be trans* just to shower with girls is ignorant and fear-mongering. It also displays an astounding lack of understanding of the meaning of the word transgender — the trans* girl showering near someone's daughter may have been born male, but she identifies as female. That makes her a girl. Deliberate misgendering isn't just mean, it's harmful to the mental and emotional health of transgender youths. Also, as Karhl points out, other states have adopted similar policies in the past, and over the course of six years there have been no instances of anything remotely similar to the MCPL's dire predictions. Unsurprisingly, people are reproaching the Star Tribune for printing the ad in the first place.

If they had published ads from the Nazi party about B'nai B'rith, or something from the [Ku Klux] Klan about race relations -- the kind of editorial decision that makes you wonder. It's not just a matter of 'we take money and we run ads,'" said Kahrl by phone [to the Huffington Post]. "They've accepted responsibility of demonizing trans people."

Two students are also planning a protest in front of their headquarters, and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network started a petition for an apology from the newspaper, currently at just over 2900 signatures. While the MCPL seems unrepentant in their comments to the press and the Star Tribune has yet to address the controversy, the response on social media has been largely opposed to their actions.

LGBT youth already have it hard enough. Do we really need to give them another reason to feel ostracized?