by WorldTribune Staff, March 1, 2023
A girls basketball team in Vermont withdrew from the Division IV high school state tournament due to its refusal to play against an opposing team which has a biological male on the roster.
The Mid Vermont Christian School (MVCS) girls basketball team, the No. 12 seed, was scheduled to play a first-round game at No. 5 seed Long Trail on Tuesday night, local outlet Valley News reported.
“We believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players,” MVCS head of school Vicky Fogg wrote in an email to the Valley News. “Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.”
Vermont law allows biological males who identify as transgender females to play on girls’ sports teams.
Lauren Thomas, the assistant executive director for the Vermont Principals’ Association, said MVCS sent her a letter stating that it would not be entering the tournament.
“I have received calls (from schools) asking for best practices and how to go forward knowing they were going to play a team with a transgender female on it,” Thomas said. “We just supported our stance and our best practices through our inclusivity statement.”
Vermont law prohibits discrimination against student athletes because of their gender identity and says any disputes over students’ participation on sports teams that don’t match their biological gender must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Transgender and gender nonconforming students are to be provided the same opportunities to participate in physical education as are all other students. Generally, students should be permitted to participate in physical education and sports in accordance with the student’s gender identity. Participation in competitive athletic activities and sports will be resolved on a case-by-case basis,” the Vermont Agency of Education’s best practices reads.
The department also says transgender students should not be required to use the bathroom or locker room “that conflicts with the student’s gender identity.”
Vermont’s gender identity has created conflict at other schools.
A Vermont middle school girls soccer coach was suspended last fall after he “misgendered” a trans student on a private social media post while defending his daughter who had spoken out against the player being in the girls locker room.
At the same school, a group of female students were reportedly banned from the locker room after objecting to the biological male changing in the same space.