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Sen. Dibble, Rep. Hollins, and Rep. Keeler respond to legislation criminalizing trans-athletes

Monday, March 01, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Last week, legislation was introduced in Minnesota House of Representatives, House File 1657, that would criminalize transgender student athletes. This legislation would restrict transgender girls from participation in female athletics and charge them with a crime for participation. A similar bill was heard in the Senate two weeks ago. 

“We are seeing yet again another harmful, unconstitutional bill that targets and dehumanizes children,” said Senator Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis. “The Minnesota state constitution is a guarantee of everyone’s rights and full equality, and transphobic policies have no place in our schools, as was recently found by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Promoting transphobia in sports distracts from the very real threats to female sports – racism, pay inequities, sexual abuse, and lack of athletic opportunities in schools to name a few. It upends the entire purpose of youth development through sports. Every student deserves the chance to participate in sports activities without the fear of criminal charges.” 

“This bill serves no other purpose than to demonize a group of people who are already highly susceptible to violence, discrimination, and systemic oppression. The real purpose of this legislation is to instill fear in our community and promote transphobia,” said Representative Athena Hollins, DFL-Saint Paul. “If no one is free until all of us are free, then liberation starts with tearing through every barrier, every wall, and every discriminatory policy that criminalizes the rights of trans and gender-nonconforming people. Our children deserve to explore their passion for sports without restrictions.” 

“We should be encouraging youth participation in extracurricular activities, not criminalizing them for pursing their interests,” said Representative Heather Keeler, DFL-Moorhead. “Being active in sports teaches our students about teamwork, and builds healthy minds and bodies. Using sports negatively to create a transphobic atmosphere is not the message our youth need, nor deserve.”