North Dakota House Bill 1298 aims to ban transgender athletes in North Dakota from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity. This bill would prevent a female from competing on male athletic team if there is no female option available to them. While every high school may have a men’s and women’s basketball team, the same cannot be said for soccer or hockey. Rural areas often allow women to play for a men’s team when no women’s team is available. HB 1298 would even further restrict the access that these women have and would create even larger obstacles for these student-athletes to overcome just to participate in athletics.
I have devoted my life to women’s athletics and have spent the past decade coaching at the Division I and III levels. I have heard the concern that some may have for transgender participation in athletics, I can assure you that there is no real threat to athletics, specifically to women’s athletics. The NCAA has allowed transgender student-athletes to participate in college athletics since before I started coaching college sports, and without incident. Transgender student-athletes are not “stealing” scholarships, championships or opportunities from female student-athletes. I have never witnessed nor experienced any detriment to my program or women’s athletics due to the NCAA’s inclusive stance on transgender student-athletes. HB 1298 is unnecessary and reckless. HB 1298 would not make our athletes safer because there is no impending risk.
Sports should be accessible to every child in the state of North Dakota, not just some of them. Athletics teach us leadership, discipline and respect for others. Most importantly, sports teach us resilience and perseverance.
Rebecca Quimby, Moorhead, Minn., head women’s soccer coach, Concordia College