A transgender tennis player has dropped out of the Wyoming Governor’s Cup citing concerns for her safety and her desire to prevent a ‘circus’ atmosphere.
Brooklyn Ross’ participation sparked national fury, with Cheyenne Tennis Association president Jackie Fulkrod resigning in protest earlier this month.
Days after Fulkrod resigned, Ross, 27, said she would not be competing, telling Cowboy State Daily she didn’t want her presence to be the main focus or for protests to ruin the event, which took place from August 4-6.
“It became increasingly apparent that the environment may not have been a typical tennis tournament with things spiraling out of control and people’s safety at risk, including my own,” she said. .
The Colorado athlete added: “I was just worried it would turn into a crazy event where people were protesting.”
Brooklyn Ross, whose authorized participation in the Wyoming event sparked national fury, has dropped out of the competition over safety concerns
Cheyenne Tennis Association president Jackie Fulkrod has resigned over the decision to allow Ross to compete in the women’s singles category of the Wyoming Governor’s Cup
Fulkrod, who previously said “a man playing a woman is a very unfair match,” told the outlet that she was standing by with her resignation despite Ross’s exit from the tournament.
“Regardless of the withdrawal, I stand firm in my belief that biological men have no place in biological women’s sports, and in this case specifically a women-only draw,” Fulkrod told the local outlet. “That won’t change.”
Ross, an NCAA Division II college player, was supposed to play in the tournament’s open singles division, which has no age limit but typically ranges from high school high school players to women in their 30s. and quarantine.
She said she received no personal threats and that tournament director Peg Connor was supportive of her participation. However, he noted that the event would have to be canceled for everyone if the protests got out of hand, Ross claimed.
“And then no one who signed up could play,” she added. “It’s just a total waste. I just want people to be able to play and I don’t want it to turn into a crazy event.
The tournament is recreational and offers no cash prizes, celebrated its 51st year.
Ross, who was likely to win because she is ranked higher than the other competitors, said she just wanted to take a trip.
“I only signed up for this tournament so I could take a little road trip around Wyoming and take a look around a little bit, play a little tennis, have some fun,” she said.
Ross recently completed a tennis season with a University of Texas in NCAA Division II
Ross said she said she had received no personal threats and that tournament director Peg Connor was supportive of her participation.
Ross transitioned six years ago and has been playing college tennis since 2019 — she recently completed a tennis season with a Texas college in NCAA Division II — the University of Texas at Tyler.
She previously said the controversy over her participation in the Wyoming event was the first backlash she faced in her career.
“I’ve never had an issue or anyone (who) goes into the media or any issues like that, or concerns about my safety or the safety of others until now,” Ross said. “So, I think it’s not worth it.”
Fulkrod, whose mother also resigned from the association’s board following Ross’ participation in the upcoming Governor’s Cup, defended her decision to step down.
“I feel like bringing a transgender athlete into the women’s draw goes against my personal integrity and what I believe in and value.”
“My decision to step down was based solely on the fact that we had no way to protect our organization or protect our female athletes who will be competing in the tournament,” Fulkrod added.
The Governor’s Cup tournament is overseen by the United States Tennis Association.
Asked about the decision to allow Ross to compete with women, director Connor referred Cowboy State Daily to the USTA’s transgender policy.
“Tennis thrives when the sport embraces inclusion,” the USTA says in its statement on transgender athletes. “For this reason, tennis is open to everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, religious background, sexual orientation or gender identity.”