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West Virginia Teen Track Athlete Alleges Ongoing Sexual Harassment from Trans-Identified Male Teammate

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A high school track athlete in Bridgeport, West Virginia, has joined an ongoing lawsuit challenging the inclusion of trans-identified males in female sports. The student, identified only as “A.C.,” alleges that fellow track team member Becky Pepper-Jackson, a boy who claims to identify as a girl, made several sexually abusive and vulgar remarks about her, which caused her “deep distress.”

According to a statement by the 15 year-old girl added as evidence to the lawsuit State of Tennessee, et al v. Cardona, et al (U.S. Secretary of Education) on May 8, Pepper-Jackson, 13 years-old and identified as B.P.J., made “several offensive and inappropriate sexual comments” towards A.C. The harassment escalated, she said, during their final year of middle school, when “the comments became much more aggressive, vile, and disturbing.”

The suit alleges that Pepper-Jackson would say “suck my dick” to both the complainant and other girls on the team.

“During the end of that year, about two to three times per week, B.P.J. would look at me and say ‘suck my dick.’ There were usually other girls around who heard this. I heard B.P.J. say the same thing to my other teammates, too,” A.C. said.

“B.P.J. made other more explicit sexual statements that felt threatening to me. At times, B.P.J. told me quietly ‘I’m gonna stick my dick into your pussy.’ And B.P.J. sometimes added ‘and in your ass,’ as well. These comments were disturbing and caused me deep distress.”

The sexual abuse took place while Pepper-Jackson shared a locker room with the teen girls, as well as during track practice, A.C. said. The comments made the girl feel “confused and disgusted,” she explained, “especially confusing because I was told that B.P.J. was on the girls’ team because B.P.J. identifies as a girl, but the girls on the team never talked like that.”

Concerned, A.C. reported the sexual comments to her track coach and to school administrators. However, “nothing changed,” she said, and Pepper-Jackson “got very little or no punishment” for saying things other students would be penalized for.

“I was glad to move into high school in the Fall of 2023 so that I would not have to deal with B.P.J.’s harassment since B.P.J. is still in middle school. But because the middle school and high school share the same track and have overlapping practice times, I still see B.P.J. up to three times per week at girls’ discus and shot-put practice,” A.C. explained.

She also described her fears for future school activities that may include Pepper-Jackson. According to her statement, both Pepper-Jackson and A.C. play the trumpet in the marching band.

“In marching band, we have many band trips that require overnight stays, where students share hotel rooms without an adult staying in the room with them. I am hesitant to continue playing in the band because I am uncertain whether I will be forced to share a hotel room or be exposed to B.P.J. on these trips.”

A.C. additionally voiced her concern for Pepper-Jackson’s female peers, positing that his presence in the locker room of 12 and 13 year-old girls could deter them from playing sports altogether.

“I also worry about the little 6th-grade girls who are on the same team as B.P.J. right now. If I were in 6th grade and had to deal with sexual comments from a biological male two years older than me who was changing in the same locker room as me, I wouldn’t even play sports. It wouldn’t be worth it.”

She further spoke up on behalf of her younger sister, who she fears will be in an uncomfortable scenario with Pepper-Jackson in the future, when she enters high school and encounters him as a senior athlete.

“My younger sister… is a good athlete, but she is very shy, and I can’t imagine how she would feel if B.P.J. said those sexual comments to her while they were competing in sports or changing in the locker room. I do not want that to happen. I believe that girls’ sports should be for girls only. Males, even those who identify as girls, do not belong on girls’ sports teams or in girls’ locker rooms,” she stated.

A.C. noted that while Pepper-Jackson had never previously been one of the top athletes at Bridgeport Middle School (BMS), he experienced a dramatic change in his abilities during the 2022 – 2023 school year, and “suddenly became one of the top three throwers in shot put and discus at BMS.”

Until April of last year, A.C. was in the top three on her team for discus in the 7th and 8th grade, but “that changed as B.P.J. started beating me.”

As Pepper-Jackson began to outrank her, she says the boy mocked her, making remarks such as, “You have more testosterone than I do, and I am still beating you.”

In April 2023, the night before a championship meet, A.C. was pulled aside by her coach and told she had been “knocked out” of her position in the Mid Mountain 10 MS Championships.

“At that point, B.P.J.—a male almost two years younger than me—had passed my personal record in shot put (24’ 1”) by almost three feet (27’). And B.P.J. had passed my personal record in discus (55’ 2”) by more than 10 feet (66’ 0”),” she said.

“Because B.P.J. now ranked in the top three in shot put and discus, I was pushed out of the top three to fourth place at BMS in those events. And it meant that I did not get to compete in shot put or discus in the Mid Mountain 10 MS Championships on April 29, 2023.” A.C. did not get to compete in Discus or Shotput for the remainder of the season.

The girl added that she did not want to share a locker room with Pepper-Jackson, expressing safety concerns and embarrassment at the thought of changing around a boy. But she felt as though she could not speak up due to the risk of being labeled “transphobic,” and that she felt “unheard and unseen.”

Last month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a West Virginia law known as the Save Women’s Sports Act that would have protected single-sex sports and required Pepper-Jackson’s removal from the girls’ track team. The boy was a primary focus of the ruling, as he is being used as a poster child by the trans activist lobbying group the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which in 2021 filed the challenge to West Virginia’s bill requiring an adherence to sex categories in sports.

In the April 16 ruling, Judge Toby Heytens stated, “Offering B.P.J. a ‘choice’ between not participating in sports and participating only on boys teams is no real choice at all.”

“The defendants cannot expect that B.P.J. will countermand her social transition, her medical treatment, and all the work she has done with her schools, teachers, and coaches for nearly half her life by introducing herself to teammates, coaches, and even opponents as a boy,” Judge Heytens added.

The decision was celebrated by the ACLU and by Lambda Legal, two of the most active trans activist organizations spearheading lawsuits in the United States.

“As the Fourth Circuit made clear in this ruling, West Virginia’s effort to ban one 13-year-old transgender girl from joining her teammates on the middle school cross country and track team was singling out Becky for disparate treatment because of her sex,” Lambda Legal Staff Attorney for Youth Sruti Swaminathan said, in a press release published by the ACLU of West Virginia. “That’s discrimination pure and simple, and we applaud the court for arriving at this just decision.”

The decision was also praised in an article published by leading media outlet The Washington Post, which warned readers of “a nationwide backlash against trans rights, fueled in large part by claims that trans women would unfairly dominate women’s sports and that children are being allowed to transition too young.”

In an act of defiance against the ruling allowing Pepper-Jackson to remain in girls’ sports and locker rooms, five middle-school girls chose to forfeit rather than compete against the boy, in a silent protest on April 18 that saw them stepping out of a shotput circle. The girls were athletes with Lincoln Middle School, and were participating in the 2024 Harrison County Middle School Championships at Liberty High School in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

The girls were reportedly punished for their protest by being banned from all future track events. However, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey condemned the school’s retaliation, and after filing his support in a legal free speech claim, the ban on the girls’ inclusion in sports was reversed.


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GeorgeOD
GeorgeO
2 months ago

BPJ needs a good old fashioned beatin’, regularly.