North Dakota governor makes anti-trans athlete bans official

Bismarck, North Dakota - North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed two transgender athlete bans into law on Tuesday in a significant step backwards for LGBTQ+ rights.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (r.) has banned transgender athletes from kindergarten through college after declining to veto two Republican-sponsored bills.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum (r.) has banned transgender athletes from kindergarten through college after declining to veto two Republican-sponsored bills.  © Collage: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire & Stephen Yang / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Transgender participation in sports is now banned in North Dakota from K-12 and in college after Burgum signed two Republican-sponsored pieces of legislation into law.

Burgum vetoed similar legislation back in 2021 but declined to do so this session. Supporters of the anti-trans law had enough votes to override a veto this go around, so the bills likely would have gone into effect regardless.

The Biden administration proposed a new rule earlier this month that would restrict outright bans on trans athletes like the one North Dakota just instituted. However, critics have pointed out that it leaves open the possibility of barring individuals on a case-by-case basis and are demanding the president to go further to protect sports access.

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Top sports stars, including USWNT champion Megan Rapinoe and retired WNBA star Sue Bird, have also come out in support of transgender and intersex athletes, urging US lawmakers to take a stand against youth bans.

Earlier this month, North Dakota Republicans passed legislation permitting state employees and teachers to misgender staff and students, but it did not take effect after they failed to override Burgum's veto of the bill.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire & Stephen Yang / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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