A Christian school in Vermont has withdrawn from the state’s girls’ basketball tournament rather than play against a team with a transgender girl.
Mid Vermont Christian School, located in White River, was scheduled to play Long Trail School in Dorset February 21 in the first round of the Division IV tournament, the Bennington Bannerreports. The Christian school decided to forfeit the game and therefore end its participation in the tournament.
“We withdrew from the tournament because we believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players,” said a statement from Vicky Fogg, the school’s head. “Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.”
That was the school’s only comment on the matter, according to the Banner. It’s unknown if the players, the coaches, or the school’s administration made the decision.
“This is the first time where a school has expressed that they were withdrawing over those concerns,” Lauren Thomas, assistant executive director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, told the Banner. “We have transgender athletes in various sports, not just basketball, not just in team sports. We have individuals. So we have students that are participating as they are.”
The principals’ group has a policy of nondiscrimination against trans athletes. “Supporting transgender student-athletes is not only a core part of building an inclusive community for each student to grow and thrive, it is also a clear expectation by Vermont state law(s) in the Agency of Education Best Practices, and in VPA Policy regarding transgender student athletes,” said a statement released by the group last October after a volleyball player at one Vermont school objected to a trans teammate’s presence in the locker room.
There have been some other incidents of school teams forfeiting games because they didn’t want to play against a team with a trans member. Last year, all high school girls’ volleyball teams in the Cherokee County School District in North Carolina forfeited their games against Highlands School, which had a trans player.
Scientists and LGBTQ+ activists have disputed the assumption that trans female athletes have an innate and unfair advantage over cisgender ones, something that has led numerous states to bar trans girls and women from female school sports teams. They also have pointed out that trans-exclusionary sports laws further stigmatize an already marginalized population.