A Vermont school that refused to play against an opposing basketball team with a trans player won’t be able to participate in future tournaments, the Vermont Principals’ Association announced on Monday.
Mid Vermont Christian School forfeited a game on 21 February in an out-of-state tournament against Long Trail school.
“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,” MCVS head of school Vicky Fogg said in a statement obtained by the Guardian. “Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.”
The Vermont Principals’ Association, an organization that sponsors various school sport activities, ruled that the MCVS had violated its policies and will be ineligible to participate in future tournaments that it sanctions. The move applies to all sports.
“The VPA again reiterates its ongoing support of transgender student-athletes as not only a part of building an inclusive community for each student to grow and thrive, but also as a clear expectation by Vermont state law(s) in the Agency of Education Best Practices, and in VPA Policy regarding transgender student athletes,” the association said in a statement.
It sent a letter to the school saying that Mid Vermont did not meet the association’s policies on race, gender and disability awareness. Mid Vermont has yet to respond to the sanctions.
The inclusion of transgender athletes, especially in girls’ and women’s sports, has been met with pushback from conservatives, with many arguing that transgender athletes have an advantage over cisgender women. Eighteen US states have passed laws that prohibit transgender athletes from taking part in female school sports.
Trans rights advocates argue for the inclusion of an already marginalized group that has faced historic discrimination, and threats to their lives.
“Politically motivated attacks by anti-trans politicians have fueled countless acts of discrimination targeting trans youth, and led to a horrific increase in acts of violence and murders of trans people. It is incumbent on all of us to call out these dangerous and bigoted attacks for what they are, and to affirm that the rights, dignity and humanity of trans youth are not up for debate,” James Lyall of the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union told the Guardian earlier this month.