Inside Stories

Safety Concerns Spark Gender Controversy Following Game Involving Lowell School

A Charter School on Middlesex Street in Lowell finds itself in the middle of the debate regarding women’s sports and gender identity.

This past Wednesday, a story on the website itemlive was brought to our attention by a reader regarding the Lowell Collegiate Charter School Girls Basketball team walking out at halftime of a game against KIPP Academy in Lynn. 

The story speculates on whether the walkout, which resulted in a forfeit by the Wolves, was due to the presence of a male player on the KIPP girls roster. Coaches from both teams were hesitant to delve into the controversy, with Lowell Collegiate Athletic Director Kyle Pelczar saying Coach Kevin Ortins’ decision was the result of multiple players getting hurt during the game on February 8th and not wanting to suffer any more injuries.

InsideLowell has acquired an exclusive video clip of a play during the game in which the KIPP player, reported to be over 6-feet tall, rips the basketball away from a Wolves player as they vie for a rebound. In the process, the girl ends up on the floor in pain. (click here or on the video below to view the incident)

Sources familiar with the situation also tell us that despite the Charter School being hesitant to get involved in the nationwide debate over the participation of biological males in female sports, there was legitimate concern from the girls on the Lowell Collegiate Charter School team for their physical well-being.

The Wolves were already down four players heading into the KIPP matchup, and did not want to suffer any more injuries prior to the school’s first ever playoff appearance, scheduled just four days later on February 12th.

When asked for comment on the situation, the school released the following statement:

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association guidelines regarding gender identity and participation in high school sports are derived from Massachusetts General Laws, which we’ve included below:

MGL c. 12, § 11I 1/2 Interference with right to access to reproductive and gender-affirming health care services; abusive litigation; civil actions

MGL c. 46, § 13(e) Amending a birth certificate
A person who has completed medical intervention for the purpose of permanent sex reassignment may have their birth record amended. As of July 1, 2015, surgery is no longer a prerequisite to getting a new birth certificate.

MGL c. 76, § 5 No person shall be excluded from or discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town, or in obtaining the advantages, privileges, and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

MGL c. 112, § 275 Bans gay or gender identity conversion therapy for children under 18

A health care provider shall not advertise for or engage in sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts with a patient less than 18 years of age

MGL c. 127, § 32A Housing and treatment of inmates with gender identity that differs from assigned sex at birth

MGL c. 127, § 39A(c) Segregated units – mental health screening; prohibitions on housing in units
The fact that a prisoner is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex or has a gender identity or expression or sexual orientation uncommon in general population shall not be grounds for placement in restrictive housing.

MGL c. 151B Discrimination
Unlawful practices (under section 4) include discrimination in employment, the insurance or bonding business, real estate loans, renting, and credit services.

MGL c. 175, § 108N Disability insurance policies; discrimination based upon race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation or marital status prohibited

MGL c. 272, § 92A Advertisement, book, notice or sign relative to discrimination; definition of place of public accommodation, resort or amusement
Specifies that this includes restrooms in relation to gender identity.

MGL c. 272, § 98 Discrimination in admission to, or treatment in, place of public accommodation

St. 2011, c. 199 An act relative to gender identity
Amends a number of laws to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

St. 2016, c. 134 An act relative to transgender anti-discrimination
Gives transgender people the right to use restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identities, and includes language to provide “legal action [against] any person whose assertion of a gender identity is for an improper purpose.”

St. 2022, c. 127 An act expanding protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care

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