Girls High School Basketball Team Forfeits Game Instead of Playing Against Transgender Player

Mid Vermont Christian School
Mid Vermont Christian School

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A high school girls' basketball team in Vermont has withdrawn from an out-of-state tournament after they were scheduled to play against a team with a player who is transgender.

According to CNN, the team from Mid Vermont Christian School (MVCS) was to face Long Trail School on February 21 but forfeited the game because Long Trail has a player who is transgender.

Vicky Fogg, the head of school at MVCS, released a statement saying, "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."

She added: "Allowing biological males to participate in women's sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women's sports in general."

PEOPLE reached out to the school for comment on Thursday afternoon.

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The Vermont Principals' Association (VPA), the governing body for school sports in the state, has a policy on gender identity that allows students to participate in athletic activities "in a manner consistent with their gender identity."

Including transgender athletes in sports has been a divisive issue in the United States. Some states, including Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia and Texas, have banned transgender youths from participating in sports teams that align with their gender identities, per NBC News.

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In Vermont, however, students are allowed to participate in VPA activities in accordance with their gender identity, the outlet noted.

According to CBS Sports, Long Trail School automatically moved on to the next round and will now face No. 4 seed Arlington in the quarterfinals on Friday.

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Amanda Rohdenburg, the associate director of Outright Vermont, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ youth, criticized MVCS's decision in a response to NBC News, saying it showed that Vermont "is not immune to anti-trans hate."

Rohdenburg added that the organization's primary focus is to "go where harm is done and ensure that young people feel safe and seen."