". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Suspended Coach and Daughter Reinstated after Protesting Boys in the Girls’ Locker Room

June 5, 2023

“We currently live in a time where you have to defend your values from some pretty radical ideologies.” Middle school soccer coach Travis Allen ought to know. The district suspended him from his job in Vermont for “misgendering” a biological boy on his personal Facebook page. And not just any boy — a teenage boy that was trying to use his freshman daughter’s locker room.

And Travis wasn’t the only one punished. The controversy started when his 14-year-old daughter, Blake, spoke up that her girls’ volleyball team was uncomfortable with “a dude” in their private space, watching them change and shower. “I was suspended because I voiced my opinion that a man shouldn’t be in the women’s locker room,” she told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson last October. “A lot of my classmates were supportive. I think most people and the school are — they’re just too scared to speak up, because they see all the backlash I’m getting for it.”

While there’s some dispute over what happened when the boy entered the Randolph Union High School locker room, there is zero dispute about what happened to Blake for complaining. “I was in the locker room,” she said, “and the [trans-identifying] student walked in … and the rest of the team was in there, and I was uncomfortable. And I left and I told the school, and they just shut me down and said there was nothing they could do.” Later, school officials demanded that Blake write a letter of apology to the student and take part in a “restorative circle” with the campus’s “equity coordinator.”

She refused. “I said I would rather have a five-day suspension than have to apologize, because I’m not sorry,” she told Carlson.

Her dad, an employee in the same school district — Orange Southwest — was outraged, first over the policy that allowed a biological male in the room with undressed girls, and then for Randolph Union’s response. “I made a … social media post that referred to the male student as a male, and I was punished because I misgendered him,” Travis explained.

Carlson was astonished. “You lost your job, or you’re suspended without pay from your job?” “Correct,” Travis replied, “as the [middle school girls’] soccer coach.” “So you were the creep in this?” Tucker shook his head. “It’s beyond belief.”

The family (and even Elon Musk) agreed, and with Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) help, sued the superintendent and Randolph Union’s co-principals. “I don’t want other girls to have to feel uncomfortable about it,” Blake said. “I think everyone should be able to just get changed in a locker room that they were born as. If you were born a girl, you can go in the girls’ locker room, get out when you’re done. It should be simple, and it’s not anymore.”

While these same battles play out in high schools across America, the Allens’ stand was rewarded. The district, while refusing to admit any wrongdoing, agreed to pay the family and attorneys $125,000 — a settlement that also includes Travis’s full reinstatement and wipes clean any disciplinary notes from his file and Blake’s student record.

“So happy for volleyball player and friend, Blake Allen,” former NCAA All-American Riley Gaines posted. ADF Senior Counsel Phil Sechler echoed her enthusiasm. “We are grateful that the school recognized it was wrong to suspend Blake from school and Travis from his coaching position simply for exercising their freedom of speech,” ADF Senior Counsel Phil Sechler explained. “No one should lose their job or get suspended from school for voicing their opinion or calling a male a male and we are glad to see this case resolved favorably — not only for Blake and Travis, but for all students and coaches to be able to speak freely and without fear of retaliation.”

Although Travis admitted the ordeal has “taken a toll on our family,” he also insisted “it was worth it.” “It showed us who will and won’t support us even if they do not agree with our values. Blake’s punishment would not have been reversed had we not filed the lawsuit, and I wouldn’t be able to coach in the fall if we had not reached the settlement. I wouldn’t change anything.”

At the end of the day, he believes the case “brought our family closer together. … Jessica and I are proud of Blake for standing up for free speech and women’s privacy under difficult circumstances.”

As for Blake, she has no regrets. “I’m glad I spoke out, because there’s still so much that could be done. … The [state] law [that allows boys in girls’ locker rooms] could be changed, because now it’s national news.”

Family Research Council’s Meg Kilgannon, like so many others, hopes this incident shines a light on the injustice of the Left’s gender ideology. “Let’s not forget that the policy still stands. The corrosive pro-trans agenda is still locked in place in this and other schools. Girls will still face the possibility of having boys and men in their private spaces.”

“In Vermont,” she continued, “women and girls are demoted to ‘teammates’ while a male gets women’s pronouns and access to women’s space and a place on the girls’ team that is not filled with a girl. We still have plenty of work to do to regain sanity in Vermont and across the country. It’s great to have a win we can build on with this case in Vermont and I’m grateful to this family for taking a stand when the personal toll is so high. They are an example for us all.”

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.