Jackie Fulkrod, president of a Wyoming Tennis Association, has resigned in protest of a decision to permit a transgender woman to play in a tournament this weekend, the Cowboy State Daily is reporting.
Biological man Brooklyn Ross, 27, will compete in the Wyoming Governor’s Cup tournament in Cheyenne, according to the outlet.
“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 said. She resigned her position on the board last week.
She added: “I feel like having a transgender athlete compete in the women’s draw is against my personal integrity and what I believe and value.
“My decision to resign was solely based on the fact that we didn’t have any way to protect our organization or protect our female athletes that are going to be playing in the tournament.
Ross, who transitioned six years ago, has never faced a controversy about playing in tournaments prior to this one, the Cowboy State Daily noted.
“It’s always been positive and good,” Ross said.
Earlier this year, Wyoming became the 19th state to ban transgender athletes from playing on girls or women’s sports teams after the Republican governor opted not to veto the legislation, The Associated Press reported.
Gov. Mark Gordon allowed the bill to become law without his signature, saying he agreed with the overall goal of fairness in competitive female sports.
But he also maintained in a decision letter that the ban “is overly draconian, is discriminatory without attention to individual circumstances or mitigating factors, and pays little attention to fundamental principles of equality.”
However, the new law won’t impact the upcoming Governor’s Cup since it’s not a school-sanctioned event. The law only applies to girls in grades seven through 12, the Cowboy State Daily reported.
“I feel sad this woman has resigned over this,” Ross said of Fulkrod’s decision “I feel like there’s no reason to.”
The tournament is sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association. Tournament Director Peg Connor referred Cowboy State Daily to the USTA’s transgender policy when asked about the Ross controversy.
“Tennis thrives when the sport embraces inclusion,” the USTA says in its statement on transgender athletes. “For that reason, tennis is open to all regardless of one’s age, ethnicity, race, religious background, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Officials at the USTA Intermountain branch were not immediately available for comment.