Girl’s high school basketball team withdraws from tournament instead of facing team with transgender player

A Vermont girls high school basketball team refused to take the court against a competing school because the opposing team included a transgender player, resulting in its forfeiture at a tournament.

The Mid Vermont Christian School was scheduled to face off against Long Trail School on 21 February, but forfeited the game after learning one of the players was trans, CNN reports.

Vicky Fogg, the head of Mid Vermont Christian School, confirmed the player was the reason for the school's refusal to play.

“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,” Ms 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 gender guidelines outlined by the Vermont Principals' Association has ruled that students may participate in sport activities in a "manner consistent with their gender identity." That ruling is echoed in the state's Agency of Education Best Practices for Schools Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students guidelines.

The VPA told CNN that it "reiterates its support for each student."

Despite the Christian school's claims that playing against a trans athlete would be unfair, Lost Trail — which advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to the forfeit — lost to Arlington High School in their next game.

Mid Vermont Christian School petitioned the state earlier this year asking permission to continue taking public funds for its private institution, but argued it should not be subjected to the same anti-discrimination rules governing all state schools on the basis of its religious affiliation, according to a report in The Daily Mail.

"As a religious organization, the school has a statutory and constitutional right to make decisions based on its religious beliefs, including hiring and disciplining employees, associating with others, and in its admissions, conduct and operations policies and procedures," Ms Fogg wrote in January.

Trans participation in sports has been a hot-button, culture war issue for several years. Several Republican-led states have passed bans preventing trans athletes from competing in sports, arguing that trans women and girls have physical advantages over cisgender women and girls.