Discover more from Friendly Atheist
Christian school banned from league for refusing to play against trans athlete
The Mid Vermont Christian School forfeited a girls' basketball game against a team with a trans player. Now they won't be able to play anyone.
This Substack newsletter is free, but it’s only able to sustain itself due to the support I receive from a small percentage of regular readers. Would you please consider becoming one of those supporters? You can use the button below to subscribe to Substack or use my usual Patreon page!
A Christian school has been banned from state-sanctioned sporting events after it forfeited a girls’ basketball game instead of playing against a team with a transgender player on the roster.
Late last month, Mid Vermont Christian School (MVCS) was a #12 seed slated to play against #5 Long Trail School in the Division IV bracket to win the Girls Basketball State Championship.
MVCS refused to play, however, because Long Trail had a trans athlete on the team.
MVCS Head of School Vicky Fogg made a predictably bigoted comment in defense of her school’s decision:
“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. Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.”
She didn’t explain how a trans athlete would impact the “safety” of her players. She didn’t say how the game would be unfair. Like so many right-wing bigots, she used buzzwords so she wouldn’t have to go into details. As research has shown, there’s no consistent evidence showing that trans athletes have a competitive advantage. More importantly, this is high school sports. It’s not professional. It’s meant to be fun. It’s supposed to celebrate the journey more than the outcomes.
For all the concern about the threat to women’s sports, by forfeiting the game, the Christian school denied all the girls a chance to display their skills on the court.
For what it’s worth, Long Trail had a 14-6 record during the regular season (hardly undefeated) and lost the next game in the tournament by a fairly significant margin.
To their credit, the Vermont Principals’ Association, which oversees high school athletic competitions in the state, made clear they would stand by their inclusive policies. They have a no tolerance policy when it comes to “discrimination based on a student’s actual or perceived sex and gender.”
The game had already been forfeited by the time the VPA learned what had happened, so they didn’t need to take immediate action.
Now, two weeks later, they’ve made it official: Mid Vermont Christian School will no longer be allowed to participate in VPA-sponsored athletic events. It was a unanimous vote of the 15-member executive committee. It wasn’t even a hard call; state law forbids discrimination against out trans athletes. Still, it’s nice to see an athletic association do the right thing and not cave in to bigot demands.
Jay Nichols, the VPA’s executive director, put it bluntly: “If you don’t want to follow VPA rules, that’s fine… But then you're just not a VPA member.”
MVCS is already doing what right-wing Christians do best: pretend they’re being persecuted. They plan to appeal the decision:
“Mid Vermont Christian school is disappointed with the decision of the VPA Executive Council to ban us from participation in all VPA activities. We intend to appeal the decision,” the head of school at MVCS, Vicky Fogg, said in an email. “Canceling 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.”
Somehow, “safety and fairness” didn’t bother any other team because no one else took the coward’s way out.
No one should feel bad for Mid Vermont Christian School. If that school doesn’t want to compete for transphobic reasons, that’s their call. They don’t deserve to be rewarded for it by continuing to have access to strong competition and an established league. They’re not being punished for their Christian beliefs; they’re being kicked out of an association for breaking a rule that amount to nothing more than showing basic human decency.
The Christian school’s decision to put bigotry over competition will ultimately hurt its own students, who will be deprived of the opportunity to showcase their skills and earn possible scholarships. But it’s clear that school doesn’t really care about students anyway. They dismissed an athlete on another team because she didn’t fit their rigid mold; we shouldn’t be surprised when their selfish actions affect their own athletes.
P.S. Never one to miss an opportunity to jump on a bigot bandwagon, notorious spiritual abuser Pastor Mark Driscoll made this bizarre video titled “Meet my transgender cat”: