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Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018: Buffalo News tells story of transgender H.S. athlete

   Leading off today: A lengthy story from The Buffalo News on Thursday lends perspective to why the policy pertaining to transgender athletes has been one of the more complicated issues facing school administrators, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and other governing bodies for sports in recent years.

   Reporter Danielle Allentuck told the story of Sweet Home student and former swimmer Zachary Poydock, who now goes by the name Ashleigh Lucina and is practicing with the girls cross country team at the Section 6 school.

   Lucina began transitioning from male to female as a freshman, doing so without the support of her parents, who declined to be interviewed for the story.

   The school has given her access to a unisex bathroom and female locker rooms. Principal Scott Martin said Sweet Home looked to other schools for guidance on how to make everyone feel comfortable in the locker room and is using curtains to create private areas. These areas can be used by any students.

   The NYSPHSAA adopted guidelines for transgender participants in 2015 and made important revisions in 2017, but the bottom line is that the decision for how to proceed is left to the respective school districts. The NYSPHSAA has looked closely at NCAA policies and could potentially adopt those standards, but there is an understandable reluctance to move forward without more specific guidance from the New York State Education Department and the office of the Attorney General.

   In the interim, things have the potential to be dicey, and here's why: The NCAA says a "trans female (MTF) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for the purposes of NCAA competition may continue to compete on a men's team but may not compete on a women's team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment."

   Lucina says she has not taken any hormones or had any reassignment surgeries -- her goal is to use the student health insurance benefits in college to begin that process. Her times as a distance runner are probably not good enough to win significant meets, but the newspaper story says she is one of the top five Sweet Home runners, meaning she figures to count in the team scoring in most races if she suits up for the Panthers.

   "I feel it's a little bit unfair that I have testosterone, but at the same time I know so many girls that can kick my (butt)," she said. "I'm not the best, I'm not the greatest. Even with testosterone, there are so many better people out there."

   But that's not been the case in Connecticut, where transgender athletes have made it to the awards podium of the past two girls state track and field championships.


   Wednesday highlights: The extreme heat across much of the state did a number on Wednesday's schedule of games, but there were games played.

   The strange result of the day was almost certainly Lewiston-Porter's 10-7 victory over Charter School for Applied Technologies. Aside from the fact it was a boys soccer match and not a football game, what really stood out as odd was that CSAT junior Souleyman Diallo finished with six goals and an assist in the loss.

   CSAT has been outscored 47-14 in its 0-6 start to the season. Diallo has scored 12 of the Eagles' 14 goals and assisted on the two others. football site

   Before I forget (again): I intended to mention this tidbit back in the spring when the local Democrat party endorsed Michael Lopez for Rochester City Court judge, though there's still a newsy angle since the primary is next week. With Colin Kaepernick now back in the news non-stop courtesy of Nike, I was reminded of what I'd forgotten to mention.

   Lopez has two claims to fame locally. Firstly, he lost a primary for a City Court judgeship in 2015 to Leticia Astacio, a name local residents have come to know and despise. Astacio won the court seat, was arrested and convicted for DWI and was in court Wednesday in a last-ditch bid to avoid being removed from her job -- a nearly unprecedented punishment in New York.

   Lopez's other claim to fame was his role in the Kaepernick-inspired protests in 2016 that saw pro, college and high school athletes stage protests during the playing of the national anthem before games.

   A little less than two years ago, all 18 members of the World of Inquiry boys soccer team kneeled for the anthem before a game at Aquinas. Rochester City School District administrators sent a note home with the athletes the next day, encouraging parents to talk through the issue and make sure family members were on the same page.

   Barely 48 hours after the initial protest, seven members of the World of Inquiry team stood at attention for the "Star-Spangled Banner" before a contest at Bishop Kearney.

   Rochester talk radio host Bob Lonsberry used his deep list of contacts to report that it was Lopez who had planted the protest bug in the ear of the players and that he also attempted to persuade Kearney players to join in.

   If Democrats in Rochester are comfortable electing a man who meddles with teens in that fashion, then I'm comfortable with my personal policy of avoiding travel in the city or doing business there unless absolutely necessary.

   Extra points: Former Canisius High football coach Raymond T. Clark, 42, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in November for bilking three clients out of $870,000 in his role as a financial adviser.

   Prosecutors say Clark, who coached Canisius to a 1-7 record in 2006, took hundreds of thousands of dollars that he was supposed to invest on behalf of clients and instead used the funds for personal expenses.

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