By Kyle Thorson | Grand Forks, N.D.

Rep. Ben Koppelman and Sen. Janne Myrdal are the prime sponsors of House Bill 1298, an unnecessary piece of legislation that targets transgender athletes and bans them from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

Over an hour and a half of oral testimony was given in opposition to HB 1298, including parents of transgender youth who play sports at their schools. Thirty medical experts from across North Dakota with expertise in endocrinology, psychology and general practice declared this bill was introduced in bad faith, goes against established science, and has severe consequences. No medical experts were contacted or interviewed prior to this bill being drafted. Legal experts made it clear this farce would be immediately challenged in court and cost North Dakota taxpayers significant money to chase a problem that does not exist. Sponsors of this bill say it is about protecting women and girls in sports, despite many female athletes saying the bill does not fix any problems. If nothing else, HB 1298 and its sponsors show the grave shortcomings of their ideology.

The North Dakota School Board Association and North Dakota High School Activity Association already have policies that both establish fairness and are inclusive of transgender youth who play sports. Policies in the Olympics, NCAA and even North Dakota all promote fairness and inclusion. These policies are carefully researched, deliberated and implemented, unlike HB 1289. It seems strange that Rep. Koppelman and Sen. Myrdal somehow feel they know better than these organizations and are pushing legislation that is not solving a current problem while risking taxpayer money on expensive legal battles.

Contact your representatives now and tell them to trust the policies we have in place and to vote no on HB 1298.