Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 11, 2021

Today, House lawmakers voted to advance a discriminatory bill targeting transgender student athletes.

The ACLU of North Dakota opposes House Bill 1298, legislation that would ban transgender athletes under the age of 18 from competing on the sports teams that match their gender identity.

The bill is an attempt to codify discrimination against transgender youth and undermine the oversight and authority of the North Dakota High School Activities Association to ensure equitable and fair participation in high school sports.

“In North Dakota and around the country, transgender people of all ages have been participating in sports consistent with their gender identity for years,” said Libby Skarin, ACLU of North Dakota campaigns director. “Inclusive teams support all athletes and encourage participation — this should be the standard for all school sports. Discrimination against a marginalized group of people like this is a distraction from the needs of the state and hurts us all. It’s time we stop these attacks and the very real harm they cause to transgender people across North Dakota.”

Legislation similar to House Bill 1298 has been filed across the country in recent years and has been challenged in court. In 2020, a federal judge blocked a similar law in Idaho that targeted transgender student athletes, recognizing that “the Constitution must always prevail.” By granting the motion for a preliminary injunction in that case, transgender girls and women continue to be able to participate in school sports in Idaho.

About the ACLU of North Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.