School Barred From Sports Matches After Refusing Game With Trans Athlete

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A Vermont Christian school has been barred from participating in future tournaments associated with a state athletic organization after it forfeited a girls basketball game last month because the opposing team had a transgender athlete.

Mid Vermont Christian School in Hartford was informed Monday that it violated anti-discrimination policies of the Vermont Principals’ Association when it forfeited the match. The school is therefore no longer able to compete in future tournaments that the VPA sanctions.

“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 VPA said in a statement announcing its decision.

It wasn’t clear how long the ban, which was described as immediate, will remain in effect. A representative with the VPA did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for comment.

The head of Mid Vermont Christian School, Vicky Fogg, said the school is disappointed with the VPA’s decision and will appeal.

“Cancelling our membership is not a solution and does nothing to deal with the very real issue of safety and fairness facing women’s sports in our beloved state. We urge the VPA to reconsider its policies, and balance the rights of every athlete in the state,” Fogg said in a statement shared with HuffPost Wednesday.

Mid Vermont Christian School refused to play Long Trail School in Dorset on Feb. 21 during the girls state basketball playoffs.

Fogg confirmed with local news outlets at the time that the team decided not to participate “because we believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players.”

More than a dozen states have enacted laws or issued statewide rules that would prohibit or limit transgender sports participation. Supporters of such rules argue that allowing transgender athletes who were born male to compete in female sports gives the athletes an unfair physical advantage over cisgender women and girls.

Opponents say the rules are driven by misguided stereotypes and fear, and that barring transgender athletes is sexual discrimination that increases the risk of bullying, harassment and social isolation.

A representative with Long Trail School did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.