6’1” male dominating high school girls’ basketball with blocked shots in Vermont

A high school girls’ basketball team in Vermont is 17-1, owing in some measure to the defensive prowess of its tall, biologically male player.

Standing at 6-foot-1, Rose Johnson is a senior at…

A high school girls’ basketball team in Vermont is 17-1, owing in some measure to the defensive prowess of its tall, biologically male player.

Standing at 6-foot-1, Rose Johnson is a senior at Long Trail School. The transgender athlete, who is biologically male, has been playing on the girls’ basketball team the past two seasons.

Johnson’s impact on the court has been significant, according to The Rutland Herald and The Manchester Journal:

  • Eight points in the team’s 51-28 win over Springfield on February 7, 2024; 
  • Eight points in a 39-25 win over Poultney on February 14, 2023; 
  • Six blocked shots and six points in a 47-43 win against Proctor on February 7, 2023; 
  • Seven blocked shots and eight points in a 43-16 win over Mill River on January 31, 2023; 
  • Eight points in a 40-31 win against Poultney on January 27, 2023. 

“We nicknamed her Rose ‘not in my house’ Johnson because she just does not let anything come through the lane,” head coach Courtney Stasny said in an interview last year. 

However, critics say Johnson’s participation is unfair and creates safety issues for the women he competes against. 

Indeed, Johnson hurt a female player from Leland & Gray when they collided in a Dec. 14 matchup, according to the New Boston Post.  

State policies in Vermont allow student-athletes to participate based on their gender identity, rather than their assigned sex, as outlined by the Vermont Agency of Education

Mid Vermont Christian School was even penalized last season by the athletic association for refusing to play against Long Trail, including a ban from all sports activities in the association. The school has since filed a lawsuit against educational authorities, arguing they are punishing the school for its religious beliefs. 

“When our girls’ basketball team was scheduled to play against a biological male in last year’s state tournament our school decided to withdraw from the tournament and forfeit the game due to our religious beliefs,” head coach Chris Goodwin said, according to CNN. “Now, Vermont is not allowing us to compete in any state-sponsored sports. 

“As a coach and parent, I did not think I would have to tell my daughter that she could not compete in school sports for our Christian worldview. No one, including our student athletes, should have opportunities taken away from them because of their religious beliefs.” 

Basketball injuries have also been a concern in Massachusetts, where a biological male playing for Kipp Academy injured three female players during a game against The Collegiate Charter School of Lowell. 

Before the second half of the game, Collegiate Charter School officials said the team decided to forfeit because the other players feared getting injured and not being able to compete in the playoffs that were a few days later. 

“The bench was already depleted going into the game with the 12-player roster having four players unable to play,” Collegiate Charter School spokesperson Casey Crane said. “When the coach saw three more go down in the first half leaving him with five players, he made the call to end the game early. 

“In an effort to maintain safety for his team, he decided to forfeit. The Charter School supports this decision and reiterates its values of both inclusivity and safety for all students.”  

Former NCAA swimmer and women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines believes men competing against women is anything but inclusive and safe. 

“A man hitting a woman used to be called domestic abuse,” Gaines posted on X. “Now it’s called brave. Who watches this & actually thinks this is “compassionate, kind, and inclusive”?”