Cruz Vernon began competing in gymnastics when he was 9 years old, hetold WCBS-TV.
By the seventh grade, he joined his school’s all-girl team — and by the ninth grade, Vernon placed in states, the station said.
But since then, the committee governing high school sports in Westchester County, New York, banned Vernon from participating as a scoring member of his gymnastics team at Ossining High School, WCBS said. Theschool has only one gymnastics team.
“I could still do my routines during competitions and get scored for them, but whatever score I received wouldn’t count toward the team’s score,” the 17-year-old told the station.
Vernon said the ruling came because he’s a boy, WCBS reported.
When Vernon’s mother appealed the decision, the Section 1 committee upheld it, saying Vernon “exceeds the physical abilities in his team … thereby creating an unfair advantage” and his participation “would result in a female gymnast being displaced,” the station said.
With that, the Vernon family retained an attorney who brought a discrimination complaint to the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, WCBS said.
“What we really want is a resolution,” lawyer Paul Barger explained to the station. “We want him to have the opportunity to compete.”
Vernon also told WCBS that his stature was a factor in the Section 1 committee’s decision — but that standing 6-foot-3 is a disadvantage in gymnastics.
He told the station he hopes the ruling is overturned by the spring when postseason competition begins.
“I also want this to reach out to any other boys who may be in a similar situation,” Vernon noted to WCBS. “People need to know that there are others going through similar situations, and they’re not alone in this.”
The Section 1 committee’s executive director had no comment on the situation, the station reported.
Republican lawmakers inNew Hampshire, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri— as well asIdaho— have been looking to enact measures requiring public school athletes to compete according to their biological sex. The proposed measures come in the face of an increasing number of biological males who identify as female and then crush biological female competition.
While Vernon is not transgender, his case would appear to present an interesting twist in relation to the overall issue. If he’s allowed to compete against girls, does that fly in the face of efforts by lawmakers in other states who want to prevent biological males from competing against biological females?