The battle over transgender rights as dozens of bills proposed nationwide

Juju Chang of "Nightline" explores the debate over transgender athletes as dozens of anti-trans policies are being debated and passed in state capitols.
3:44 | 05/11/21

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Transcript for The battle over transgender rights as dozens of bills proposed nationwide
Back now with the battle for transgender rights. The department of health and human services announced it will ban scream nation based on sexual orientation and gender identity as states across the country consider dozens of bills to restrict the rights of transgender especially athletes. Juju Chang has the story. Brandon Boulware. Reporter: An unlikely warrior yore trans rights, the successful lawyer pleading with lawmakers to vote against a bill that would restrict trans athletes from competeing. Making the rounds talking to as many of you as I can. Reporter: His testimony before Missouri lawmakers going viral. For years I would not let my daughter wear girl clothes. I did not let her play with girl toys. Reporter: That moment inspiring had him to teach others. At stake he says his trans daughter's very childhood. What sports does your daughter want to take part in and what do those sporting events mean to her? Well, volleyball, soccer, ice skating, being part of a team, I mean, at this age it's not everything, but it's close. To be denied the opportunity, you know, to participate is just wrong and it is denying these kids their childhood. Whoo. That was a good throw. Reporter: 13-year-old Chris says for him football is a safe haven. He transitioned socially and medically at the age of 9. I've made some of my closest friends at Harrisburg through football but it's also given me a lot of discipline. Reporter: He says for him playing sports is a matter of life and death. Nearly 14% of transgendered children between 11 and 19 have reported a suicide attempt. What I meant by football being life saving was that without football, I don't quite know if I would still be here because it has given me a sense of belonging. It's taken away the spotlight on the fact that I am transgender and it's just allowed me to be a boy and it's allowed me to be a kid. Sports are, you know, an inredible lifeline for many they provide an opportunity for social connection, social and emotional development at a critical age, students to connect with peers, so being categorically banned from sports just takes away opportunities for connection for a group of people that's already, you know, subjected to incredibly high rates of discrimination in schools and in society. Reporter: Back in February like dozens of other state, South Dakota moved to pass a bill prohibiting trans girls from flaying on girls teams and motivated Kris and his family to speak out. Every step of the way Kris' message has been, mom and dad, if I don't speak up for me, who is going to? And he is one of the few that has and he is just such a brave young man. I mean, all of us in the transgender community are brothers and sisters. You know, we got to stand up for each other and with each other. Reporter: Now, in the past year and a half seven states have already restricted trans athletes and 28 more states have legislation in the works. Now, GOP lawmakers will say this is about fairness in sports but opponents say this is hurting trans kids and it is merely the latest battleground in the culture wars. I know you'll have a lot morereverend deforest Soaries. Like millions of New Jerseyans,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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