Transgender sports bill discussed at state Capitol

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 8:00 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Stakeholders took to the Capitol Monday over a controversial bill that would bar transgender student athletes from playing for teams that don’t match the gender on their original birth certificate.

The bill also bans public dollars from being used to sponsor events where exclusively male or female sports feature transgender athletes.

Last week, a series of similar bills were withdrawn, but not this one. And it led to a committee meeting with lengthy debate.

HB 1298 says that males and females would only play for the sports teams that match the gender on their original birth certificate.

The primary sponsor, Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo, said this bill is about keeping the playing fields fair.

“If we choose to do nothing, we will by default be allowing opportunities for women to be lost or greatly reduced as society attempts to reduce any reference to biological sex and replace it with a social construct of self-identification,” Koppelman said.

But those who spoke against the bill, including doctors and humans rights groups, said the bill is clearly discriminatory against transgender student athletes.

“Recently, when I bought a house with my wife Chelsey, I’m sad to say while we considered buying a house in North Dakota, we ultimately felt that our rights as an LGBTQ couple would be better protected in Minnesota,” said speaker Rebecca Quimby said.

But if it passes, the fight may continue. North Dakota is set to host NCAA tournaments, but may become target of the NCAA over the policies.

This all comes within a week after President Joe Biden signing an executive order implementing anti-discrimination efforts against the LGBTQ+ community.

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