By Sara Smart and Jennifer Henderson | CNN
A Vermont girls high school basketball team forfeited an out of state tournament after refusing to play against a team that had a transgender player.
Mid Vermont Christian School (MVCS) was set to play Long Trail School on February 21, but MVCS forfeited the game due to a transgender player on Long Trail’s roster, according to the head of school at MVCS, Vicky Fogg.
“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,” Fogg said in a statement.
“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 (VPA) policy on gender identity, the state’s governing body for school sports, says students are able to participate in athletic activities “in a manner consistent with their gender identity,” which is outlined in the Vermont Agency of Education Best Practices for Schools Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.
The VPA shared with CNN on Monday that it “reiterates its support for each student” following the incident.
The Long Trail team advanced to round two of the tournament due to the forfeit and played on Friday, according to the school’s website.
CNN has reached out to Long Trail for comment but has not received a response.
Transgender athlete bans in US sport
While sex is a category that refers broadly to physiology, a person’s gender is an innate sense of identity.
The factors that go into determining the sex listed on a birth certificate may include anatomy, genetics and hormones, and there is broad natural variation in each of these categories.
The debate over the inclusion of transgender athletes, particularly women and girls, has become a political flashpoint in recent years, especially among conservatives.
Earlier this year, a small group of demonstrators gathered outside the NCAA Convention in San Antonio to protest the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s college sports.
A number of GOP-led states — among them Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia — have in recent years been successful in banning trans youth from competing in sport, infuriating LGBTQ advocates, who argue conservatives are creating an issue where there isn’t one.
Advocates of such measures have argued that transgender women and girls have physical advantages over cisgender women and girls in sports, while critics say this legislation adds to the discrimination that trans people face, particularly trans youth.
Trans youth are a small and vulnerable group that, LGBTQ advocates say, are largely misunderstood, making their existence ripe for attacks.
A 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half of transgender and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide, and a 2021 Williams Institute study reports 30% of transgender youth have attempted suicide in the year prior to the study.
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