School That Declined To Have Female Athletes Play Against Trans Player Takes Legal Action Over Sports Ban

Ugandan transgender player Jay Mulucha (C) stands with teammates on court during a break in the basketball competition at the 2018 Gay Games edition at the Palais des Sports Robert Charpentier in Issy- les-Moulineaux, south of Paris on August 7, 2018. (LUCAS BARIOULET/AFP via Getty Images)

Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
Font Size:

A school filed a lawsuit Nov. 21 against state officials for banning it from a sports league after it refused to participate in a game against a team with a biologically male competitor.

Mid Vermont Christian School forfeited a playoff game in girl’s basketball in February, citing concerns about the safety of their players. The Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA), the governing body for high school sports in the state, later informed the religious school that they would be banned from the league’s state-run competitions for the decision.

“Specifically, the school’s actions do not meet the expectations of the VPA’s 1st and 2nd policy, Commitment to Racial, Gender Fair and Disability Awareness and Policy Of Gender Identity, respectively. Thus, Mid-Vermont Christian School is ineligible to participate in VPA activities going forward,” the association said in a letter.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in a district court, claims that the state forced the religious school to violate its sincerely held beliefs about sexuality and gender. Among the plaintiffs named in the case are players who are allegedly “losing out” on participating in state sport competitions. (RELATED: ‘Fair And Safe Competition’: How One Legal Group Is Leading The Charge To Protect Women’s Sports)

“Forcing Mid Vermont Christian’s female athletes to compete against biological males … raises safety concerns for the School’s female athletes, as reflected by the VPA’s boys/girls fairness policy,” the lawsuit states, citing injuries suffered by female players competing against males in contact sports.

“The biological male on Long Trail’s team is taller than any girl on Mid Vermont Christian’s team,” the lawsuit continues. “Available video of the biological male playing basketball, which showed the athlete repeatedly blocking girls’ shots, throwing elbows, and knocking girls down further underscored Mid Vermont Christian’s concerns.”

The lawsuit asks the court to rule the state’s banning of the school from state-run sport activities as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.