MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota joins 32 other states with policies for transgender athletes on high school sports teams. But that doesn’t make it any less controversial.

Minnesota transgender students can choose a sports team if parents and health care professionals can prove their gender-related identity. Students don’t need proof of sex-change surgery or hormone therapy.

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For some, the fear is bigger boys dominating girls.

“And I think it’s unfair that you are giving boys the opportunity to self-proclaim themselves as girls, just so they can play on a girls’ team and potentially take away our scholarships,” said one female high school athlete.

The NCAA says that’s not true. Transgender students fall within the physical traits of their transitioned gender.

Bathroom and locker room policies are not clear, other than “a safe, comfortable and convenient environment.”

Nationwide, about 10 transgender athletes compete on high school teams every year.

The San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center estimates they make up .03 percent of the population.

That means 1,626 Minnesotans identify as transgender; a fraction are students, and fewer still are athletes.

Each public high school in Minnesota will make its own decision. Even though the number of transgender athletes is thought to be small, it’s the first time there’s been any policy to address it.

About 500 public high schools could be affected by the new transgender policy. Religious schools are exempted.

It goes into effect for the 2015-2016 school year.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

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MSHSL Votes to Approve Policy for Transgender Athletes

Minnesota State High School League

MSHSL Transgender Policy

Fact Sheet: High School League Athlete Participation

American Psychological Association

U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights

Transgender Athlete Policies By State

National Federation of State High School Associations

Transgender Law Center

NCAA Report: Transgender Student Athletes

Child Protection League Action Website

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