CHARLOTTESVILLE -- As some young athletes wrestle with gender identity, the Virginia High School League is working to create the Commonwealth's first-ever transgender policy.
The VHSL has spent the last several months working to draft a policy after receiving inquiries from at least four schools and one school division regarding the eligibility of transgender students.
Spokesman Mike McCall said although a transgender student hasn't yet come forward, the VHSL doesn't want to be "reactionary" and members are working to create a policy that provides "safe and equitable competition" for all student-athletes.
"It will happen at some point -- it's a matter of when," McCall told WVEC.com. "We need to stay ahead of this before it drops on our door."
According to McCall, drafting a policy has been a lengthy process. Internally, the league examined transgender policies from several other states.
"I'm told 18 states have a policy in place and others are doing the same as we are right now," McCall said.
The committee will vote if they want to move forward on the policy. Then, superintendents, principals and athletic directors will have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue.
In May, the executive committee will vote on a final draft, and if approved, the new policy will go into effect in July, McCall said.
McCall couldn't disclose if any schools in Hampton Roads inquired about creating a transgender policy, citing privacy issues.
The VHSL serves 313 public schools in the Commonwealth.
The following draft that will be presented to the VHSL executive committee on Wednesday:
Draft #4 of VHSL Policy Recommendations for Transgender Participation – February 2014
Privacy Statement: All discussions and documents at all levels of the process either by a member school, appeals panel, and/or the VHSL shall be kept confidential unless specifically requested by the student and family.
VHSL rules and regulations allow transgender student-athlete participation under the following conditions:
A. A student-athlete will compete in the gender of their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex reassignment.
B. A student-athlete who has undergone sex reassignment is eligible to compete in the reassigned gender when:
The student-athlete has undergone sex reassignment before puberty, ORThe student-athlete has undergone sex reassignment after puberty under all of the following conditions:a. Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy.b. Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sports competition.c. If a student-athlete stops taking hormonal treatment, they will be required to participate in the sport consistent with their birth gender.
C. A student-athlete seeking to participate as a result of sex reassignment must access the VHSL eligibility appeals process.
Note: VHSL honors and respects all individuals based on gender, race, sexual orientation and creed while striving to provide safe and equitable competition.