North Dakota House passes ban on transgender pronouns

Public schools and state agencies in North Dakota would be prohibited from referring to students and employees by pronouns that do not reflect their gender, under a bill approved by the legislature.

The House approved Bill 60-32 on Wednesday. It was passed by the Senate last month and now awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Doug Burgum.

In 2021, Burgum vetoed a bill that would have barred transgender students from participating in public elementary and high school sports. But Burgum has not said publicly if he supports this latest measure.

Bill is one of hundreds nationwide who are taking aim at nearly every facet of transgender existence, from pronouns and bathroom use to health care and athletics. In North Dakota, similar bills aimed at restricting transgender athletes passed the House this session with non-veto majorities. The Senate has not yet voted on them. Last week, Wyoming became the 19th state to ban transgender athletes from playing on women’s or women’s sports teams.

“It’s another week of a legislative session, and we have another bill that tells certain people they are valuable or not valuable in our state,” the Democratic rep said. Fargo’s Josh Boschee urging lawmakers to vote against the pronoun. Invoice.

Just before the vote, Republican Rep. SuAnn Olson of Baldwin retorted, “Five years ago, that whole pronoun wasn’t a thing. This puts teachers in the very difficult position” of tracking students who switch pronouns, she said. “It’s just a common sense bill that deserves a green vote.”

The bill would not criminalize teachers or state employees. And if a teacher received approval from a student’s parent or guardian — and the school administrator — the teacher would be allowed to use whatever pronouns the student prefers.

Although the measure also affects state employees outside schools, Wednesday’s debate focused mainly on educational staff who would be affected. Supporters said the bill would ease the burden on teachers and create better learning environments for students

The bill would allow teachers to “rest with relief that they only need to remember one name and (one) set of historically recognized biological pronouns,” said Republican Rep. Lori VanWinkle, of Minot, in support. She added that the bill would inspire parents to believe their children are safe at school and create learning environments free of “social distractions”.

Opponents, including Democratic Rep. Mary Schneider of Fargo, cited testimony from countless people who argued the bill would harm LGBTQ youth: mental health therapists, school counselors, social workers, suicide prevention advocates , church leaders and more.

Schneider noted that these experts said the bill would not protect children or promote learning because “the real threats to children are poverty, hunger, lack of health care, gun violence , bigotry, social pressures, mental health and bills like these.”

Democrats and Republicans voted against the bill.

A 2022 survey by The Trevor Project found that 45% of LGBTQ youth had seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous year, but those who were supported socially or at school reported lower rates. .

Trisha Ahmed is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow her on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15

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