DFL legislators want to enshrine trans sports in state law, ban removal of LGBT flags

A new bill would require school personnel to "identify and address students by their preferred names and pronouns."

Participants in the 2017 Twin Cities Pride Parade wave LGBT flags. (Shutterstock)

A group of Democrats are putting forward legislation to enshrine transgender sports in state statute and ban the removal of LGBT flags in many public places.

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers have signed on to HF 4394 in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Authored by Rep. Leigh Finke, D-St. Paul, this bill would require the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) commissioner to develop a “gender inclusion policy” that must be adopted in some form by school districts across the state.

Among other things, the legislation would direct school districts to “provide all students the opportunity to participate in cocurricular and extracurricular activities in a manner consistent with their gender identity, including but not limited to intramural and interscholastic athletics, and in conformance with applicable Minnesota State High School League rules and regulations.”

Under the proposed law, the Minnesota State High School League also would be required to adopt policies that give students the ability to participate in sports “in a manner consistent with their gender identity.” In a 2017 guidance, MDE opined that transgender students already have this right under Title IX.

Polling consistently shows that a substantial majority of Americans oppose transgender athletes competing on teams that don’t align with their biological sex.

Rep. Leigh Finke/Minnesota House of Representatives

Furthermore, the bill would require school personnel to “identify and address students by their preferred names and pronouns” and let them use facilities that align with their gender identity.

Currently, the legislation has no companion bill or author in the Minnesota Senate.

In addition to the “gender inclusion” bill, Rep. Finke is authoring a separate piece of legislation that would regulate the display of so-called “pride” flags. Under HF 4273, state government, municipalities, and colleges and universities in Minnesota would be barred from removing or banning rainbow banners, flags, posters, or visual displays which depict the LGBT rainbow.

Two co-authors have joined Rep. Finke in bringing forward this bill: non-binary Rep. Brion Curran, D-Vadnais Heights, and two-spirit Rep. Alicia Kozlowski, D-Duluth. Similar to Rep. Finke’s bill on transgender sports, there is no companion bill or author in the Minnesota Senate for this legislation.

Rep. Finke, a biological male who identifies as a woman, received a “Woman of the Year” award from USA Today in 2023 and is known for carrying a “trans refuge” bill last session. After Finke began his “transition” in 2017, he got a tattoo of the Bride of Frankenstein on his arm. Describing the surgically-created monster as a “queer icon,” Rep. Finke has expressed admiration for the creature.

Finke has also spoken glowingly about how the Bride of Frankenstein “wreaks destruction” and “kills everyone” after being created in the 1935 film.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.