“The North Dakota Senate has passed a series of bills that would limit the rights of transgender people in sports, healthcare, schools, the workplace and everyday life.
Physicians would be barred from providing gender-affirming care to people under the age of 18, and transgender girls and women would be barred from joining female athletic teams in K-12 and college, under bills passed with a veto-proof majority in the Senate and House. If the governor vetoes the bills, the Senate and House of Representatives could overrule his decision and put those bills into effect.
Democratic Senator Ryan Braunberger of Fargo said in the Senate that he had known he was gay since childhood and that laws restricting LGBTQ freedoms contributed to his decision to commit suicide.
“I was lucky enough to survive this suicide attempt — to be here — but many others haven’t and won’t,” Braunberger said. If the bills pass, “kids like me across the state will feel like the world is against them. Eventually, they will feel they cannot go on any longer.”
Others who opposed the bills said the measures are often confusing, difficult to enforce, discriminatory and violate federal laws. But supporters said the bills would prevent children from making decisions about their identities that they would later regret and would strengthen the rights of non-transgender people.
GOVERNMENT OF NORTH DAKOTA. DOUG BURGUM VETO TRANSGENDER PRONOUN BILL
Republican Senator Janne Myrdal of Edinburgh supported the bills in the Senate and said more than a dozen states had passed what she called “women’s sports laws” restricting transgender people from participating in sports.
“None of these states lost federal funding. None of them lost the opportunity to host NCAA tournaments,” Myrdal said. “Claims that North Dakota is risking punishment are simply unsupported.”
The Senate also tried again to block teachers and government employees from recognizing the personal pronouns used by a transgender student or colleague.
Originally, the pronoun restrictions were included in a controversial bill vetoed by Republican Gov. Doug Burgum last month. The Senate quickly overturned its decision, but the House of Representatives lost a few votes and the bill died.
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But on Monday, senators took speech out of the dead pronoun bill and stuck it in a bathroom bill that would restrict transgender students’ access to restrooms. The newly amended bill must be approved by the House of Representatives and the governor to go into effect — or, if the House of Representatives passes the bill by a veto-safe majority, the governor’s approval would not be required.
The Senate amended other transgender legislation that will be sent back to the House of Representatives for approval. It would limit transgender people’s access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers in college dormitories, correctional facilities, and prisons. Another would restrict a transgender person’s ability to change their gender identity on their birth certificate.
Republican lawmakers in the United States took hundreds of measures this year to limit LGBTQ rights.
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At least 11 states have passed laws restricting or prohibiting gender-affirming childcare, but federal judges have blocked them in two states. About two dozen other states are considering legislation to limit or ban nursing.
President Joe Biden has denounced hundreds of hateful and extreme federal laws targeting transgender children and their families. “The bullying, discrimination and political attacks that trans children have faced have exacerbated our national mental health crisis,” Biden said. “These attacks are un-American and must end.”
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