Letter: ND lawmakers would rather see you be dead than be different
Christian Novak writes, "To those 'not quite sure' about all of these new ways people express who they are, ask yourself this: Should ND lawmakers be spending their time deciding how 'different' is 'too different'?"
North Dakota’s legislature made its message to trans youth and adults loud and clear this session: “We’d rather see you be dead than be different.”
Our elected leaders made an absolute Battle of Normandy of the culture war this year, passing more than a dozen additions to the North Dakota Century Code targeting our great state’s biggest “emergency”: queer North Dakotans.
Sadly, our state is lining up on the wrong side of the Normandy landings. These changes to our state laws are against science, against life, and, most importantly, against freedom.
House Bill 1254 bans gender-affirming hormone care for trans youth, even with parental consent. This comes despite the fact that this therapy is proven, tested medical care that saves lives.
Trans youth face enormous mental health risks of anxiety, depression, and suicidality. No one contests this. However, after social transition to their preferred gender, trans kids’ rates of mental health issues fall extremely closely in-line with peers of their age (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2016).
Another study found that kids who identify as transgender, but receive gender-affirming care “were 60% less likely to experience depression and 73% less likely to experience suicidality when compared to youths who did not receive gender-affirming interventions” (HCPLive 2022).
Other studies are not mixed on this, either. An analysis of 54 studies between 1991 and 2017 by Cornell University revealed that over 96% of published research found only positive impacts of transition on the mental health of trans people. A whopping zero studies found mostly negative impacts.
The acts passed this year don’t stop at restricting medical care, either. The crusade against fake cleavage in House Bill 1333 is a clear ban on any type of drag performance anywhere a minor could even be wandering by. Small government at its finest, deciding what kinds of art fall under the whole “freedom” thing.
One change, thankfully vetoed by Governor Burgum, would have made it all but impossible for a teacher to simply respect what a student says they’d like to be called.
All of this demonization comes at a steep price: A lack of support for people who need it.
To those “not quite sure” about all of these new ways people express who they are, ask yourself this: Should ND lawmakers be spending their time deciding how “different” is “too different”?
…And to the lawmaker who recently told columnist Rob Port that you’d be replaced “with someone crazy” if you didn’t bend to others in your party: Are North Dakotans better off dead than in a dress?
Christian Novak is a resident of Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.