MORE INCLUSIVE POLICY IS A WIN FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES
Last week, the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference (also known as PVAC—Field’s athletic league) scored a victory for all their student-athletes by amending their bylaws to add language that is more inclusive of transgender athletes. Field’s athletic director, Jesse Gaylord, says the new language
is more specific and makes a clearer statement of purpose, philosophy, and inclusivity. “It aligns with the law and with DCSAA (the governing body for all DC high school athletics),” he says. “While not all the PVAC schools are in DC, those of us who are abide by DCSAA rules and DC human rights laws, which are very inclusive.” The new language commits to allowing student-athletes to participate in sports in a way that’s consistent with their gender identity.
The road to amending the bylaws has been a years-long journey for the league, which Jesse and assistant athletic director Eva Greenberg have had a hand in shaping. “The league is very unique in that we have a number of different perspectives and school philosophies represented,” Jesse says, acknowledging the diverse group of schools Field students compete against. After lots of conversation amongst PVAC athletic directors and heads of school over more than a month, the league voted for the new language to be adopted on January 17. Dale Johnson credited Jesse and Eva's persistent leadership and advocacy in getting the "yes" vote, saying, "It is truly rewarding to see that has finally happened. We are proud of the way Jesse and Eva have represented Field in moving the PVAC forward on this important issue."
"It was such an interesting and important experience to be a part of," Eva adds. "The PVAC is comprised of 13 vastly different member schools and it was exciting and engaging to have all of us come together to have such a significant conversation about our need to protect our students’ rights and ability to be involved in athletics. ”
“We as a school will always err on the side of inclusion, not exclusion,” Jesse agrees. “And this was an instance where we had to take a stand philosophically because we felt we didn’t want to participate in a league that didn’t stand up to discrimination against our students.”
If you see Jesse or Eva around, offer them a high five or a big thank-you for standing up for trans student-athletes across the league!
And for a deeper dive into this story, keep an eye out for the school newspaper—seniors Adam and Sam are writing an article that will be published in the February issue of the Field News!