When state Sen. Janne Myrdal testified before the North Dakota House Human Services Committee in support of HB 1298, she said she believes the bill has little to do with transgender people.
“For me, it is 100% a Title IX issue,” said Myrdal, the bill’s co-sponsor.
HB 1298 — which would bar trans athletes from competing on teams that align to the gender with which they identify (and not with their birth gender) — has come with no little controversy during the 2021 session of the North Dakota Legislature, prompting cries of protest from school officials, physicians and LGBT advocate groups throughout North Dakota. Opponents say the bills are part of a coordinated attack on marginalized teens who already are vulnerable to discrimination.
Meanwhile, lawmakers who back the measure say the bill would preserve women’s rights under Title IX, which protects against discrimination based on sex.
Myrdal and lead sponsor Rep. Ben Koppelman both have ties to anti-LGBT groups. Koppelman, R-West Fargo, is listed as a policymaker signatory for Promise to America’s Children, a national coalition led by several prominent anti-trans organizations, including the Alliance to Defend Freedom, which has been identified as an extremist anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Prior to becoming a state senator, Myrdal, R-Edinburg, was the director of the North Dakota chapter of Concerned Women for America, a Washington, D.C.-based Christian women’s organization that in the past has lobbied against anti-discrimination policies and repeated the widely debunked claim that offering protections to transgender people enables pedophiles and predators.
Nance applauded the Trump administration’s decision to rescind Title IX guidelines that attempted to ensure better school environments for trans students, suggesting that forcing students to be burdened through “political correctness” while claiming that the guidelines forced cisgender female students to share bathrooms and locker rooms with biological boys.
In a recent interview with the Grand Forks Herald, Myrdal vehemently denied she is anti-LGBT, and Koppelman said he doesn’t consider himself to be anti-trans or pro-trans.
“What’s a concern to me is when we start defining organizations that have moral points of view, if you want to say it that way, where we start labeling them with things like ‘hate group,'” Koppelman said. “As I understand it, every person should be able to make the case for why they stand for certain values.”