Anti-trans legislation’s detrimental effects
North Dakota has never been a state that is known for accepting minorities, especially when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. With its typically conservative outlook when it comes to politics, it’s difficult to feel safe. This has never been truer than now, with the influx of 10 anti-trans bills that have recently been presented just this month.
These include not allowing drag on public property, preventing state facilities from letting them use the bathroom of their gender identity, and limiting what is allowed in libraries. The ones that have been recently passed include athletic bans for high school and college transgender individuals, preventing gender markers from being changed on birth certificates, and criminalizing gender-affirming care for minors. I would not be surprised if more end up being passed in the near future.
North Dakota has been committing vast government overreach lately. These anti-trans bills that they are trying to push are undermining the fundamental rights of both parents and individuals. When the Constitution guaranteed equal protection and due process, it was not meant to ban and single out gender-affirming care. This is why all the Democrats, and some Republicans, voted against it. While I am not surprised that these bills have been introduced, I strongly believe that they should not have been passed.
It is important to note what exactly this recent law does. It is now a crime in the state of North Dakota to provide gender-affirming care to those under 18. If sex reassignment surgery is done on a minor, the healthcare provider will be charged with a felony with up to ten years in prison and $20,000 in fines. If a minor is given medication like puberty blockers or hormone therapy, the health care provider will be charged with a misdemeanor with up to a year in prison and $3,000 in fines. Let me be very clear when I say this, Governor Burgum admitted that medical professionals have testified that surgeries have not and still are not being performed on minors in North Dakota.
When it comes to puberty blockers, the FDA approved them thirty years ago. Synthetic hormones have also been approved for a substantial amount of time. While they were not initially made for gender-questioning youth, they have been used for decades and are not experimental. Detransitioning is a large concern for people who worry that minors are not mature enough to make their own decisions. However, evidence pulled from NBC News and the journal Pediatrics shows that, on average, less than 3% of trans youth later identified as their sex assigned at birth. Another important aspect that is often overlooked, is that gender-affirming care for minorities is much more social than it is physical. Social transitioning includes using the person’s preferred name and pronouns, as well as letting them dress in a way that is comfortable for them.
Banning help and opportunities for transgender people will not stop them from being trans, it will just prevent them from having the vital support they need to thrive. Both suicide and homicide rates, as well as hate crimes, are likely to surge in the wake of these bills. If the government really wants to protect children, there are other areas that they would be focusing on. They could have chosen to provide free school lunches, instead of saying that it isn’t the responsibility of the state and then voting to increase their meal budgets. This also could have allowed access to abortion instead of passing the strict anti-abortion ban at six weeks, without exception for rape or incest.
Transgender people are not a threat, they are just trying to live their lives. Seeing how the government abuses its power to threaten those that they do not agree makes me incredibly worried for the futures of other minorities. As someone who was born and raised in North Dakota, I want to leave. I do not feel safe here. If they truly want younger generations to live here, they should take into consideration that views on the LGBTQ+ community are changing. They are driving people away with their hatred and intolerance for those that differ from them.
I strongly urge everyone to reach out to their representatives within the government and tell them that what they are doing is wrong and incredibly harmful. Outside of that, let marginalized identities know that you are an ally and support them. Having at least one person on your side can make all the difference. NDSU has been doing a great job of this by celebrating Pride Month this April and keeping its web page on diversity up to date. Stand up for what is right, and let people live their lives and celebrate their true selves.