Va. policy opens doors for transgender student-athletes, but does it go far enough?

BY Sam Lane  February 21, 2014 at 10:57 AM EST

A state board in Virginia on Wednesday approved a new policy that will allow transgender high school student-athletes to play a given sport based on the gender with which they identify.

According to U.S. News and World Report, at least 10 other states no longer restrict athletic participation on the basis of birth sex.

Virginia’s rule, though, requires the student to have undergone gender reassignment surgery. And if that surgery occurred after puberty, the student must take hormonal therapy.

Eliza Byard, the executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education network, told the Roanoke Times that Virginia’s policy is “overly restrictive.”

“It’s very important that transgender students have access to school activities,” she said. “But if the idea was to increase participation, this won’t do it.”