Bismarck, ND – Today, HB 1298, a grotesquely discriminatory anti-Transgender bill that prohibits children from participating in school sports based on gender identity, was shamefully passed in the North Dakota House by a vote of 65 to 26. It now goes to the North Dakota Senate, where the conscience and soul of our state will be defined.
This repugnant piece of legislation – which specifically and purposely harms Transgender youth – goes beyond the pale by also forbidding any public entity to host an athletic group that welcomes transgender students to participate. This means any North Dakota high school tournament that includes out-of-state teams who don’t engage in transphobic bigotry would automatically be forfeit. To Rep. Ben Koppleman (R-Fargo) and the bill’s supporters, singling out vulnerable children to take away their identity, rights, and dignity is well worth the overwhelming taxpayer cost of lawsuits, lost revenue, and widespread condemnation across the country from businesses and decent people alike.
This is far from the first instance of their hate: Last year, the NDGOP called our LGBTQ friends and family unhealthy, dangerous, manipulative to children, and ‘voyeurs who wish to prey on members of the opposite sex.’ – demonstrable, and completely incredulous considering that they endorsed a Peeping Tom for Secretary of State in 2018.
Democratic-NPL Chairwoman, Kylie Oversen did not hold back in her response:
“Rep. Ben Koppelman and the 64 other members of the NDGOP continue to show that their despicable priorities are solely focused on hate over health care, discrimination over decency, and bigotry over business relief. Embarrassing headlines and backwards views have replaced the public service and common decency that used to define us. North Dakotans did not elect these people to dehumanize children and young adults. Today, they have shamed us in the eyes of the world.”
“To the individuals of the transgender community, young and old: You are loved. Your life has value. You have a purpose. You are supported; and the Democratic-NPL will continue to proudly fight alongside you, because Trans Rights are Human Rights.”
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people in the United States. Transgender and non-binary youth are ten times more likely to attempt suicide than cisgender youth, and 52% of transgender and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide. If you or a loved one in the trans community are in need of support, please dial (877) 565-8860.