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Letter: North Dakota aims to be LGBTQ+ free by 2025

Faye Seidler recaps some of the bills proposed in the North Dakota Legislature that will affect the LGBTQ+ population.

Faye Tengen Seidler.jpg
Faye Tengen Seidler
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I’m a suicide prevention advocate that specializes in LGBTQ+ populations. While the legislative session may still introduce new bills, we already have nine that specifically target queer folks. They range from mundane policy updates to legislation so new and horrifying we don’t have a cute slogan to refer to them yet.

SB 2199 seeks to define gender, gender identity, gender expression and sex as all meaning sex determined at birth by DNA. Words don’t work that way, but this impacts Title One, chapter one of the century code and applies to all organizations receiving state funding. It’s hard to gauge the full impact, but effectively I believe any business, hospital, school, or entity awarded state funding is compelled to misgender trans people regardless if they medically or legally transitioned for patients, clients and employees. This is the kind of bill that will make national news, feels unconstitutional, and will generate think pieces about how trans people are a politically targeted minority slowly being systematically erased by bullies. Defensive of DNA bills?

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This also comes with a $1,500 penalty for non-compliance and some sort of required DNA testing if one contests this. Who pays for that is unclear. What is clear is the time of solely posturing to a base that you’re solving the queer people problem is over. Many of these bills have criminal penalties and the kind of teeth that can rip out throats. This bill should hopefully be amended to make exceptions for intersex folks who have inconsistent DNA compared to sex assigned at birth and development, otherwise some non-trans women may tragically be deported to male. Gender deportation bills?

Aside from that, some legislators are effectively practicing medicine without a license and going against all major medical organizations. Two bans, HB 1256 and HB 1301 , give a solid choice between which way you’d like to prevent lifesaving medicine to trans kids. Credit where it is due, these bills may help about 1-2% of youth seeking services and the ~98% who suffer is a small price to pay. Life insurance for kids is also pretty cheap, investing in that may become more important. Don’t be too alarmed, most of our kids will survive if these bills pass or be fortunate to have parents that can flee.

Otherwise, conversion therapy is somehow back (HB 1332 ), we’re banning kids from sports again (HB 1249 ), removing queer topics from libraries (HB 1205 ), criminalizing drag shows (HB 1333 ), ignoring international health organizations (HB 1111 ), allowing teachers to freely misgender kids (SB 2231 ) and if that all somehow fails to pass what looks like a veto-proof legislative body, then parents can just give public schools and hospitals the middle finger (SB 2188 ). Not only that, in wicked witch fashion they’re coming after your dogs, too (HB 1365 )!

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My job is to research outcome data and prevent suicide. If you know queer folk, reach out and tell them you love them. Call 211 or 988 for mental health/suicide hotline. I promise you there is hope and that Minnesota isn’t too far away.

Faye Seidler is a North Dakota suicide prevention advocate.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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