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President of Wyoming Tennis Board Resigns in Protest of Transgender Player

The president of the Cheyenne Tennis Association board has resigned in protest of the annual Wyoming Governor’s Cup tournament allowing a biological male, who identifies as transgender, to compete in the women’s division.

The former president, Jackie Fulkrod, is now speaking out publicly about collegiate player Brooklyn Ross, 27, playing in this weekend’s tournament.

“I think a man playing against a woman is a very unfair matchup when it’s specifically meant for women in that specific draw,” Fulkrod told the Cowboy State Daily. “I feel like having a transgender athlete compete in the women’s draw is against my personal integrity and what I believe and value.”

The roughly six-foot-tall tennis player from Colorado will play in the women’s open singles division.

The report states, “Ross, who just finished up the tennis season playing at a NCAA Division II college in Texas, told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that there’s never been any controversy or opposition to playing in tournaments before. Ross transitioned six years ago and started playing college tennis at Metro State University in Denver in 2019.”

Ross appeared baffled that someone would resign over his participation in the women’s tournament.

“It’s always been positive and good,” Ross told the outlet. “I feel sad this woman has resigned over this. I feel like there’s no reason to.”

Ross claimed that he does not believe that there are many transgender athletes in Wyoming and that his participation will be good for everyone there.

“This is an opportunity for them to be able to come see a trans woman competing and see a real example, not a hypothetical or theoretical,” Ross said, “a real person, a real trans person playing the sport.”

Wyoming has passed a law barring biological males from competing against women and girls in school sports, but it does not impact the Governor’s Cup as it is not a school event and only applies through 12th grade.

“Because we’re a rec sport, there isn’t any protection for the women that would be playing in our tournament,” Fulkrod told the paper.

Fulkrod also pointed out that there are no age limits on the open division — so he will most likely end up playing against much younger girls.

The United States Tennis Association sanctions the Governor’s Cup, which allows biological men and boys to compete in female games.

“Tennis thrives when the sport embraces inclusion,” the USTA’s transgender policy states. “For that reason, tennis is open to all regardless of one’s age, ethnicity, race, religious background, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Fulkrod said that the local board was concerned that they would lost USTA’s support if they did not let Ross compete against women.

“I can understand the tournament director’s position because of lawsuits and that kind of thing, but as a personal belief, I thought this is wrong, this is not something we want to set as a precedent in Cheyenne because what’s the next thing?” she questioned.

State Rep. Ben Hornok, who represents Cheyenne, also penned an op-ed for Cowboy State Daily slamming the decision to allow Ross to compete.

“Since this event is sanctioned by the USTA, there are usually high school girls who compete in the open women’s class to help boost their standings in hopes of a brighter opportunity for college scholarships,” Rep. Hornok wrote. “They will now have to match their skills against a 6-foot 27-year-old biological male to the potential detriment of their collegiate prospects.”

Rep. Hornok continued, “Are we going to draw the line with the brave female athletes that have withdrawn from this tournament risking their college prospects, the sponsors that have withdrawn their sponsorship, and the CTA board president, who loves tennis, stepping down over this situation? Is the governor going to continue to claim that we discriminate when we don’t allow 6-foot-2 men to compete against girls?”

“We must draw a line and all take a stand with those who bravely claim that female athletes and sports should be protected. The saying ‘may the best man win’ should not be true of female sports,” Rep. Hornok concluded.

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