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My Position on Transgender students in Middle School Sports

by Melissa Mason

February 3, 2023

Over the last few years, transgender students in school sports has become a heated topic. This political issue is now at our doorstep here in New Hanover County and what we decide on Tuesday, February 7th will have profound and lasting effects on our children and community.

I, and the rest of the school board, have been tasked to remove and replace a middle school sports policy that exposes our children to dangerous transgender ideology.

The question is: what shall the new policy be?

I tell you right now that I stand firm in my conviction, and therefore, strongly advocate that we, New Hanover County, have nothing to do with adopting policies that advocate for the state-sponsored gender affirming care of middle school aged children.

Trans radical activists claim that we, the community and taxpayers, are somehow obligated to be supportive of transgender youth in whatever endeavor they choose to pursue at school, even if it’s at the detriment of young girls’ rights to participate, succeed, and learn under safe conditions. I disagree. My position is firm: we should not allow students, specifically those who self-identify as the opposite gender, to take part in sports of the opposite gender’s team at that age. It is inappropriate. Period.

This coming Tuesday, February 7th, New Hanover County School Board is expected to vote on a specific part of Policy 3620: allowing middle school aged children to participate in male or female school-sponsored athletics based on the gender with which they self-identify. There are rules and laws on driving, under-age drinking, voting and gambling and I believe there are decisions in life that children should not be allowed to make on their own. This is one of them.

The NHCS board seeks to adopt one of the following three options for a new NHCS middle school athletics policy as it applies to transgender students.

OPTION 1: Preserve the existing 3620 (B)(1) policy

The current policy, pursuant to middle school athletics, allows students to freely participate on the team that is consistent with the gender that they, the student, self-identifies. For example, if a child identifies as a girl, they will simply be placed on the girls’ team — even if they are biologically male —no questions asked.

For reference, policy 3620 currently reads as follows:

“A student participating in middle school athletics can participate on the team consistent with their gender identity. Athletic participation consistent with a student’s gender identity in middle school does not guarantee high school interscholastic athletic participation based on the student’s gender identity.”

OPTION 2: Amend the middle school athletics policy to mirror the high school policy

Update 2/6/2023: Although this information continues to be accurate, I have honed and updated my position on OPTION 2. Please refer to this post for the update.

(This option is what the NHCS Policy Committee, chaired by Josie Barnhart, recommends.)

Our high school athletics policy currently differs from the middle school policy in that if a self-identified transgender student wants to join an interscholastic athletic team, they must participate on the team consistent with their birth gender, unless they are approved by a North Carolina High School Athletic Association transgender-affirming committee.

The rule for NHCS high school athletes reads as follows:

“A student participating in high school interscholastic athletics may participate only on the team consistent with the gender on the student’s birth certificate unless otherwise permitted under North Carolina High School Athletic Association rules and regulations.” 

The following is a screenshot of the proposed language change (in red) for middle school as recommended by the NHCS policy committee.

2023 proposed change to transgender policy in middle school sports

Some of my fellow board members may be leaning to vote for this option. I will not because, until I can be convinced otherwise, I believe that all (or most) of the NCHSAA transgender-affirming committee members — aka “transgender experts” — are far-left political proponents to one degree or another and that this board is likely a bureaucratic rubber stamp of the transgender movement. This falls in line with the direction of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) which is part of SEL (social emotional learning).

Additionally, I have not been provided any idea of the incurred cost, monetary or otherwise, to the district, county or student to employ such a review committee, nor do we have established metrics on how this will affect other students in middle school athletics (those participating on the teams congruent with their biological sex). Therefore, I do not see this option having a positive outcome on student athletics in our district, and I will NOT vote for this option. Option 2 is merely the current policy with a new veneer.

OPTION 3: Amend NHCS policy to only allow students to participate in middle school athletic teams that are consistent with their gender at birth; no exceptions, and no review committee for rubberstamping exceptions.

This “birth gender, no-exception” option is the only option for which I will be voting in regards to middle school athletics in Policy 3620. Option 1 (the current policy) for me, is a hard NO. Option 2, with the proposed gender affirming care (GAC) committee, not only adds another layer of political bureaucracy, it also sends the message that we endorse state-sponsored gender affirming care for 11 to 14 year-olds (middle school age children).

I understand and believe that participation in athletics during one’s formative years is important to the learning process. Children learn how to work hard as individuals within a larger group. They learn how to win gracefully and how to mentally navigate loss. They also learn how to work with their own and others’ shortcomings. These are lifelong skills associated with school athletics.

In my 18 years of work, I have yet to meet a middle school age child who possesses the mental acuity or emotional maturity to determine the choice of their gender to such a degree that they can live with the consequences of that life-long decision. Apparently, Gays Against Groomers agrees.

Michael Costa, Editor-in-Chief of the Gays Against Groomers blog writes,

“…a gender nonconforming child should not be told that they are the opposite sex and socially transition at school without parental knowledge (Carr, 2005). Gender stereotypes are not dependent on sex and there is no way to tell if a child will identify as transgender in adulthood. Labeling a child with a sexual orientation or gender identity is grooming, and it is inappropriate to do this at school. “


 The vague definition of “Gender Identity” is “a fluid internal feeling of gender that is constantly changing.” It includes an infinite amount of identities that one can label themselves with. If gender is fluid and constantly changing, then why would children be encouraged to irreversibly alter their bodies permanently? There is no way to tell whether a child’s gender variant behavior will result in them identifying as transgender in adulthood. In the vast majority of these children, that is not the case. Studies show that over 80% of the time, these children just wind up being adult homosexuals (Wallien, 2008a).

And this is also important,

Social transition is not just a haircut or name change – it is often a direct pathway to puberty blockers (Elhakeem et al., 2019; Pang et al., 2020) and exogenous hormones. Most of these issues resolve with their natural male/female puberty (Steensma et al., 2013). A gender nonconforming child can socially transition at school without the parents knowledge and will most likely result in becoming a permanent patient for the rest of their lives under the proposed updates. These medications (Lee et al., 2020; Vlot et al., 2019) are linked to bone loss (Delgado-Ruiz et al., 2019) and bone density issues (Biggs, 2021).

This is a decision most adults have a difficult time making and requires extensive counseling. Gender dysphoria lies at the root of this issue and we CANNOT take such lightly. Trans as a lifestyle or a trend is NOT gender dysphoria. Therefore, I will be casting my vote, when it’s time, to prevent public funds and policy that enables children in middle school to participate on the opposite gender team. I will NOT support state sponsored gender affirming care for the children of New Hanover County. I DO support them seeking the professional help they need but not in this way.

We all need to act.

Time is of the essence, and Tuesday may be the only shot we have during my tenure at addressing this issue. However, we need to ensure the rest of the school board does the right thing. Please contact our other board members to ensure our schools do not cave to the Far Left radical agenda. You may contact all board members at this email: boardmembersemail@nhcs.net.

You know where I stand.

— Melissa


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