NH Senate Votes to Ban Trans Girls from Middle and High School Sports, Cast LGBTQ+ Curriculum as “Objectionable Material”

Advocates Call For Sununu to Immediately Veto Bills That Would Set Back LGBTQ Rights

The New Hampshire Senate today voted 13 – 10 on party lines (with the absence of Senator Denise Ricciardi, who experienced a medical emergency just prior to the votes)  to advance two bills that would take away rights from LGBTQ+ Granite Staters, with particular harms for transgender young people. 

The bills passed include:

  • HB 1205: Bans transgender girls from playing girls’ sports from 5th grade (age 10) to 12th grade. Requires all girls to submit a birth certificate for eligibility – or provide “other evidence,” which could include genital inspection. Allows parents and students to sue their school, an opposing team’s school, the NHIAA, and the state if they believe a transgender athlete has caused them psychological, emotional, or physical harm.  

  • HB 1312: Requires educators to provide 2 weeks’ notice on all curriculum and materials related to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and identifies these topics as “objectionable material.” 

LGBTQ+ rights, public education, and child welfare advocates gave the following statements:

Linds Jakows, Founder of 603 Equality, said, “Today, the so-called ‘Live Free or Die’ State sent a harmful message to LGBTQ Granite Staters, especially transgender young people, by denying opportunities for inclusion at school, and access to learning about people like them. Now, Governor Sununu must clearly affirm that these bills have no place in a state that just 6 years ago, became the first entirely Republican-controlled state legislature to update its nondiscrimination law to include trangender people. In 2018 he said repeatedly that ‘it’s the right thing to do.’ Mr. Sununu, treating transgender people with dignity and respect is still the right thing to do.” 

Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Director with Granite State Progress, said, “All students are harmed when transgender students are harmed at school. When certain politicians try to turn us against transgender students who want to learn, be themselves, and belong with their peers, it shows that they’d rather try and pit us against each other than create honest and inclusive learning environments. Governor Sununu should see through the tired old myths they’re flinging at vulnerable students and veto these discriminatory bills.” 

Chris Erchull, Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, said, “Today the Senate turned its back on New Hampshire values and sent an extremely harmful message to all New Hampshire youth. LGBTQ students are entitled to learn without being targeted at school. Transgender students need the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to learn essential life skills as part of a team where they feel like they belong. That’s what we want for all young people – to be able to learn, thrive, and belong. That’s why our state and federal laws make clear – and courts have affirmed – that singling out transgender students for exclusion is wrong. It is now incumbent on Governor Sununu to uphold New Hampshire’s bedrock values of freedom and fairness for all by vetoing these cruel and dangerous bills.”

Deb Howes, President of AFT-New Hampshire, said, “We believe all Granite State children have the right to go to a public school where they can feel safe, can feel welcomed and can feel they belong. As much as we would like for all students to be motivated by academics and a love of learning, for many students it is participation on a sports team and the camaraderie that brings that excites them and keeps them engaged in their school experience.That’s why we are so disappointed the Senate passed HB 1205. School sports teams are where many students learn important lessons of teamwork, cooperation and leadership and where they develop life-long friendships. The state should not pass laws forcing us to discriminate against some students and deny them the chance to participate in these time-honored school activities with the other students in their communities. We also are greatly concerned that passing HB 1312, expanding the topics requiring advanced parental notification to include any mention of gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity will only make it harder to provide a robust public education especially in history, current events, the arts and literature. It will also isolate students who already feel they are not fully included in our public schools.Granite state students all deserve a robust and complete public education!”

Courtney Reed, Policy Advocate at the ACLU of New Hampshire, said, “Our hearts break for the young transgender Granite Staters who are being relentlessly targeted by state lawmakers during this challenging legislative session. Trans students belong on our sports teams and in our schools, and all trans youth should be celebrated and protected for who they are. HB 1205 runs against federal and state law, and would discriminate against transgender youth in ways that compromise their health, social and emotional development, and safety.  Governor Sununu has made clear that LGBTQ+ people are valued members of our Granite State community, and we ask him to put an immediate stop to this deeply harmful legislation and veto all of the hostile legislation that has advanced today as soon as it reaches his desk.” 

Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, said “We are deeply disappointed the Senate has advanced HB 1312, an impractical and vague bill that would limit and segregate instruction concerning LGBTQ identities. Our schools should protect and support all students to learn and thrive. We urge Governor Sununu to swiftly veto this bill once it reaches his desk.”

Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Executive Director, Seacoast Outright, “We are deeply disappointed in today’s votes. NH has consistently affirmed the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ students and youth. Today’s votes do the opposite. They put an already marginalized population at increased risk. Our kids deserve better. Transgender youth (and all LGBTQ+ youth), and their families simply want, a chance to participate, and adequate access to appropriate educational materials – nothing more, nothing less. All we are asking is to let our kids live free, play, and thrive. We call on Governor Sununu to veto these dangerous bills, and protect our kids and families.”

“We are disappointed the Senate voted to pass HB 1205” said Devan Quinn, Director of Policy at the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation.  “Trans girls are girls. And trans girls, like all girls, deserve to be accepted and included in schools and have access to the many benefits of sports including teamwork, friendship, and belonging. There are real issues we should be addressing in girls sports like a lack of adequate funding and resources. The vote today reflects the reality that student athletes are not asking us to ban their friends from playing sports with them. They, and we, say: Let trans girls play!”

Grace Murray, Political Director at New Hampshire Youth Movement, said, “Barring trans girls from participating in girls and women’s sports is discriminatory and unconstitutional. This ban blocks young trans girls from experiencing the joys of teamwork, dedication, and exercise that come with being on a team. Time and time again young NH athletes have come forward and said they appreciate having trans teammates and this body is choosing to ignore the voices of young people and pass dangerous and discriminatory legislation.”  

Liz Canada, Advocacy Director of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, said, regarding HB 1205: “The anti-abortion and anti-transgender movements are inextricably linked: both hinge on restrictions on our bodily autonomy. The politicians behind these attacks don’t support freedom or safety – their agenda is compliance and control. We are deeply concerned with the NH Senate’s vote to pass a statewide ban on all transgender girls playing girls’ sports. These athletes are girls: their teammates know they are girls, their coaches know they are girls, their friends know they are girls, and their parents know they are girls. This is a blatant attempt to target transgender individuals in New Hampshire, particularly transgender teens. We urge Governor Sununu to show his support of our most marginalized young people and veto HB 1205.”

Are you a resident of New Hampshire? Contact Governor Sununu today and tell him to veto these bills.