SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – Inclusion and opportunity have been a cornerstone of Little League since the world’s largest youth sports organization was founded in 1939.
It now includes a waiver policy to provide accommodations for an individual whose gender identity does not match that listed on a birth certificate.
The policy, formalized in 2017, covers all of Little League’s baseball and softball programs whose participants range up 16 years old.
For the protection of any child provided with the opportunity to participate through this policy, Little League will not disclose details regarding its use, “including in what division it was utilized,” spokesman Kevin Fountain said.
“Being a part of the Little League baseball and softball program is an experience that every young boy and girl should be able to have during their childhood,” said Stephen D. Keener, its president and CEO.
By formalizing this waiver policy for those whose gender identity does not match that on a birth certificate, Little League continues to find ways to provide an opportunity for all children to participate, he said.
The policy requires waiver applications to be submitted in writing by the individual, their parent or a legal representative to the president of the league preferably before the start of the season.
Little League’s charter and/or tournament committee will decide whether to grant a waiver or modify rules.
Waiver requests must include the level of play in which the individual wishes to participate, school registration information and a written statement attesting he or she lives consistently with that gender identity.
Also required is written confirmation from a treating physician, psychologist or health care provider stating that the child is receiving appropriate care either as a transgender person or one with Disorder of Sexual Development, known as DSD.
DSD is the term used to indicate a person who was born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or chromosome pattern that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male.
The committee reviewing applications will:
* Keep confidential all documentation submitted unless the applicant or parents elect to make it public.
* Rely heavily on the medical and/or psychological caregiver’s input but may consult with individual and his or her representatives.
* Seek a confidentiality waiver from the child’s legal guardian should it be necessary to consult with additional individuals such as school officials and coaches.
The policy considers inclusion regardless of whether a transgender person has undergone any hormonal treatments or surgeries, Little League points out.
“It recognizes that regulating access to LLB programs based on such medical treatment is not necessary, unfair and overly complicated for this age level of competition,” it states.
The policy calls for a waiver decision within three weeks after a request is fully submitted and received by the committee. Waivers typically are for one season but could be extended.
Little League’s policy statements are available on its website: LittleLeague.org.
This year’s tournament began on Thursday, but just one game was played before rain forced officials to move three games to Friday. Seven games will now be played throughout the day. The new schedule can be found by clicking here.
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