Superior Student: "It's My Job to Stand Up for Other Male Dancers"

Taylor Holt
October 12, 2017 11:26 AM

Kaiden Johnson has been dancing for almost his entire life.

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"I started dancing when I was four years old," said Johnson."I love dancing because it's just a part of me. It's a form of self expression."

"(When he was a baby), he would hear music and his face would light up," said Miranda Lynch, Kaiden's mom.

 Now, he's standing up for that passion.

 The Superior High School Sophomore is trying to change the policy on gender in competitive dance for Minnesota high schools. It started when he was barred from competing with his team last December at the Lake Superior Dance Conference, because he was a boy.

"I was dressed, I was ready to go, We were all lining up, and my friend came running up to me and telling me that I wasn't allowed to dance," said Kaiden."It really brought me down, it broke my heart to know that all my hours of practice that I put into the dance was just wasted."

The dance team competes in a competition sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League. According to their bylaws, only girls are allowed to participate in dance due to Title IX.

"We know a number of boys over in Duluth that would love to be able to dance with their high school and they can't," said Lynch." I want people to stop looking at dance as a girls only sport."

Johnson says he's looking to change that policy.

"I as a victim to this knew it was my job to stand up and speak out," Johnson said.

"Most people are on Kaiden's side," said Ray Kosey, Director of Activities and Community Events at Superior High School.

Kosey says changing the state law is not their only obstacle though.

"Another rule that the Minnesota State High School League has is only Minnesota teams can compete against schools that are sanctioned by there high school league and the WIAA, which sanctions Wisconsin sports does not sponsor cheer or dance," Kosey said.

That mean's even if the law is changed the WIAA would have to sponsor dance for them to go across the bridge.

"There are really two rules out there that are preventing our boys," Kosey said. "This is a good place to start to bring people together to talk about the state law, and if it still necessary today."

As far as Kaidens' hope, he says he just wants to be able to do what he loves.

"It's unbelievable that males can't dance," said Johnson. "I hope that other potential male dancers will be able to pursue what they want to do."

The Pacific Legal Foundation sent a letter Tuesday calling on the league to rescind its policy or face legal action. As of Wednesday evening, the foundation has not herd back from the league.



Taylor Holt

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