North Dakota Signs Transgender Athlete Ban Bill

North Dakota has signed a pair of bills into law that would ban transgender female athletes from competing with biological female athletes in both high schools and college.  The bills signed on Tuesday evening are essentially a rehashing, and expansion of previous bills vetoed by North Dakota’s governor, Doug Burgum, roughly two years prior.  

Previous bills were focused on the high school level, targeting the exclusion of transgender girls from playing girls’ sports; and barring educators from using preferred pronouns in the classroom.  Proponents of the bill argued that the topics of gender and sexuality were inappropriate topics for the classroom, and the bill would eliminate this distraction.  Opponents of the bill argued that disallowing the use of pronouns was tantamount to discrimination and hatred against an already marginalized group.  Democrat rep went on to cite the high suicide rate amongst trans-identified individuals, fearing such state-imposed discrimination would exacerbate those numbers.  

These bills were ultimately vetoed by the governor; and a vote to override the veto failed to meet the required 63 votes.  

Now, with a veto-proof majority in the House and Senate, similar bills with expanded implications have passed into law. Proponents of the newly passed bills argued that the expansion into colleges was necessary to ensure transgender women could not steal scholarship opportunities from biological females.  

Governor Burgum still made his displeasure known, noting that “there still has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl playing or entering the process to even ask to play on a North Dakota girls’ team.”

North Dakota is the most recent of 19 states that have imposed restrictions on transgender athletes, and hundreds of bills have been drafted which propose restrictions on other social issues for transgender individuals, including bathrooms, health care, and workplaces.  

In an interview with Associated Press, Democratic Senator Ryan Braunberger noted the effect being felt amongst his constituents: “I have talked to several of my family members that don’t want to leave North Dakota because it is their state, and it is their home. But they feel like they have to now. They don’t feel like it’s safe for them,”


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