Grace Brethren Christian School in Maryland is accelerating its departure from its athletic conference over disagreements about the standing transgender policy.

Instead of leaving the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference in the spring, Grace Brethren has already exited the league, citing the PVAC's allowance of athletes to compete on teams consistent with their gender identities. 

“[Schools] that allow boys to play on girls’ teams is a form of cheating [and] it gives them an advantage over girls teams who only play female athletes,” wrote Grace Brethren school director George Hornickel in an email to the The Washington Post.

Hornickel said PVAC “began to allow male athletes, identifying as females” to play in league games in the fall of 2018 without any discussion or a two-thirds vote as required by the league.  

The conference said it has always allowed athletes to compete on teams consistent with their gender identities but said it would be updating its bylaws to include specific wording. 

“Our league is committed to honoring everyone’s identity, and that is very important to us,” said PVAC president Taisto Saloma, athletic director at Washington Waldorf School. “It’s something we’ve, in this year in particular, spent a lot of time talking about: How can we make sure we are doing that in a space that is changing and evolving, as it is becoming more apparent to all of us as educators and people who work in schools?”

Hornickle said the policy just didn’t conform to the Christian school’s underlying beliefs.

“We are a Christian school and hold to the biblical teaching from Genesis 1:27 and other related passages which states, ‘So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them,’” Hornickel wrote. “This is how it has been throughout the history of the world, and we believe there are only two sexes: male and female.”

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.