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House passes bill addressing gender in school sports

February 12, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Lawmakers in North Dakota’s House have passed a bill that critics say discriminates against transgender student athletes.

Supporters say the the legislation would ensure fairness in girls sports and support Title IX, a 1972 federal law that protects people from sex-based discrimination in school activities that receive federal money.

The bill would prohibit a public schools from allowing a person under 18 to participate on a high school girls or boys team exclusively for the opposite sex. The bill would allow girls to participate in school sports for boys.

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House Minority Josh Boschee, a Fargo Democrat, said the bill would put discrimination in state law, open the state up to lawsuits and hurt LGBTQ kids already at high risk for bullying and suicide, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

“Let’s move forward, let’s defeat this bill and take care of the kids of our state,” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota called the bill “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.”

The bill now goes to the Senate.