Minnesota You Are Failing

Just recently I posted about the Somali community in Minneapolis working to get funding for a halal food shelf and the utter fail of the atheist community in response to that attempt. Well we have more sad news from Minnesota, which as a native Minneapolitan makes me quite sad. Unfortunately, Minnesota wasn’t happy just screwing over people of color, they had to get trans* people in on the action too. Last week, the largest newspaper in the state, The Star Tribune, ran this delightfully transphobic ad. The ad was paid for by the Minnesota Child Protection League, an organization so homophobic that I could only read one sentence of their website before throwing up in my mouth a little bit (no, I’m not going to link because they don’t need extra traffic).

Some background: the Minnesota State High School League, which runs most Minnesota high school sports, is considering a policy that would allow transgender students to play on teams with the gender they identify as. This is awesome! There’s some fuss about fairness and whether they’ve started hormones or not, but it is a step in the right direction for trans equality even if it’s not perfect.

Of course, this has resulted in utter panic from people who are convinced that it means rapists in the bathroom. Because that is what trans equality always means. Duh. Of particular beauty in this attempt at instilling panic in the general public is referring to trans* high schoolers as “men”, while the AFAB high schoolers are “14 year olds”. Apparently being trans also magically ages you.

The statue in question isn’t even about bathrooms or locker rooms but rather about which teams students can play on, which makes the focus on locker rooms, nudity, and genitalia part of the larger trend to reduce all trans* people to sex and sexuality. One would think it would be inappropriate to focus on the intimate body parts of children and teens in high school, but I guess if someone doesn’t fit the gender binary then all bets are off.

If you find this inappropriate, please sign the petition asking the Strib for an apology.


Olivia is a giant pile of nerd who tends to freak out about linguistic prescriptivism, gender roles, and discrimination against the mentally ill. By day she writes things for the Autism Society of Minnesota, and by night she writes things everywhere else. Check out her ongoing screeds against jerkbrains at

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  1. Signed and shared. This is kind of beside the point, but most transgender kids would be mortified to have to use those kinds of open showers. I hate open showers, and not even because of my queerness or gender dysphoria. Some people like their privacy. All school showers should have private stalls.

  2. Because we need more ways for people to not see each other naked, not have a clue what other people look like naked, and more easily perpetuate body shame and related illnesses Jackal? Personally, I think we need the total opposite – less of the, “Not only can you hide if you want to, you are required to, because nudity = sex, and think of the children!”, not to make that sort of self perpetuating cycle of confusion and shame worse. Not that open showers are, by themselves, worth jack at preventing such problems, but, seriously.. stalls, would absolutely not help the much bigger issues, for both sexes, about body image, and its corresponding disorders, at all.

    1. There are people who don’t mind being naked, and people who object to nudity. There are people who don’t mind being naked, but object to compulsory nudity. Nobody, to my knowledge, advocates compulsory nudity.

      I also noticed they said ’14 year olds’. Not every high school athlete is 14.

  3. Sorry, I don’t see compulsory nudity in front of strangers as the answer to body issues. People are free to walk around shower rooms uncovered if they want to. They’re free to seek out nude beaches and nude saunas. I don’t think schools should force kids to be naked in front of people not of their choosing.

  4. Yeah, its kind of an iffy thing though. If someone actually bothers to shower, then they could claim they where compelled, even if their other option was to not shower – which brings up whole other issues, but then, some teens you can’t get to shower period, never mind after gym classes. But, yeah, my point was simply that any goal towards a more sane future can’t take the path of, “Lets fix this problem, by aggravating another one.” One could argue that such compulsory nudity is a part of some schools in other countries, or that it should be, if for no other reason than hygiene, etc. One can also make the argument that a lot of things get compelled as it is, including all of the negative social ideals, including the ones driving these exact sorts of problems (and, more than a few parents, who are nudists, would state flat out that one of the biggest “compulsions” they every had, or is ever pressed on anyone else is, “Keep your dang clothes on!” lol)

    In any case… no, it shouldn’t be compelled, but neither should the polar opposite, which, frankly, is what has been winning in the game of, “You do this, but not that!”, for a rather long time, and to, many would argue, a great deal of people’s detriment.

    My only point is – maybe its a good idea to think about whether or not something that sounds like a good idea has… consequences that tend to promote some of the problems, rather than reducing them. And, imho, the last thing we need is “more” places in society where seeing someone nude, or them seeing you that way, isn’t merely “optional”, but implicitly forbidden. Because, if someone puts in stalls, such a thing will not end with, “You have the option of using one of the stalls.”, but will, pretty much 100% certainly, end up being, “We only provide stalls.”, which is itself compelling a choice.

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