Snowboarding coach fired for views on biology

A snowboarding coach who had formerly worked in a high school in Vermont in the United States is challenging a decision of the school board to terminate his employment, after he engaged in a conversation with athletes on his school team about the biological differences between men and women.

Coach David Block, who founded the school’s snowboarding program at the Woodstock Union High School (WUHS) in Vermont and had served as a coach for more than a decade, is arguing that his right to free speech has been violated.

The conversation took place with two athletes during a competition in 2023 between the WUHS snowboarding team and a team from another district. The coach joined the conversation which centred around the issue of whether it’s fair for boys to compete against girls. It became known to the athletes that a male snowboarder who identifies as female in the opposing team was competing in the female division.

The coach expressed his view that he believes that people cannot change biological reality.

“Coach Bloch explained his belief, backed by scientific research, that these differences generally give male athletes an advantage over female athletes in competition”.

It was a respectful conversation.

The day after the competition, the school district superintendent informed Coach Bloch of his ‘immediate termination’ for supposedly violating the school district’s Prevention of Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying Policy and Vermont Principals’ Association policy.”

“[The school district superintendent] accused him of making ‘reference to [a] student in a manner that questioned the legitimacy and appropriateness of the student competing on the girls’ team to members of the WUHS snowboard team”.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who is assisting Coach Bloch with his legal action, made the following statement:

“Speaking the truth shouldn’t have cost Coach Bloch his job.

Everyone, including public employees like Coach Bloch, has the right to express his or her opinions on matters of public concern, like the appropriateness of male athletes competing against females”.

HRLA defends the rights of professionals to hold traditional beliefs about male and female differences.

Here in Australia, ordinary citizens are facing similar situations to that of Coach Bloch. Kirralie Smith, spokesperson for the organisation Binary, was issued with two apprehended violence orders after campaigning against the inclusion of biological males in women’s sport. Likewise, HRLA client Dr Jereth Kok had his medical licence suspended following complaints about his social media posts, some of which were critical of transgender ideology.

Similarly, Dr. Jillian Spencer is challenging her employer's mandate to adhere to a “gender affirmation” approach in her workplace, going against her professional medical opinion. With the support of HRLA, she will argue that this requirement infringes upon her human rights, restricting her freedom of thought, conscience, and belief, as well as her right to hold an opinion without interference or express her ideas in a manner that is neither reasonable nor proportionate and lacks justifiable legal grounds.