Letter: Protect all children in North Dakota
Andrea Paradis writes, "It is well researched that gender-affirming care supports minors' mental health and well-being and can protect them from the depression, anxiety, loneliness, and hopelessness that can lead to attempts of suicide. "
It is extremely concerning to me when politicians claim to be doing something to protect the children in their state when in all actuality, they are causing great harm.
Recently, the North Dakota House of Representatives has advanced Senate Bill 1254, which would make it possible to charge healthcare providers with a Class B felony or Class A misdemeanor if they provide particular gender-affirming healthcare for those under 18 years of age. As reported in The Forum, Rep. Brandon Prichard, R-Bismarck, claims this measure would protect minors and prevent "a general assault on the innocence of children." This bill will not protect the children of North Dakota; it will do the exact opposite.
It is well researched that gender-affirming care supports minors' mental health and well-being and can protect them from the depression, anxiety, loneliness, and hopelessness that can lead to attempts of suicide.
According to a peer-reviewed, published study from February 2023, it was found that acceptance from at least one adult can lower the chances that a transgender or nonbinary youth will attempt suicide within a year by 33% (Price & Green, 2023). The odds were reduced even more when adolescents received support and acceptance from various adults such as parents, other family members, teachers, and healthcare professionals (Price & Green, 2023). Since transgender youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than cisgender youth, our state must create a supportive environment for transgender children.
If Prichard and his fellow Republican representatives actually wanted to protect all children, they would help create an environment based on acceptance, kindness, and unconditional love. Republicans always say they want to limit government overreach, but this bill would be a massive overreach when it strips away freedom of choice from North Dakota youth and their parents. Instead of allowing parents and trained medical professionals to help transgender youth make safe and age-appropriate decisions that are best for the child, they want to give the government power to tell its citizens what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Stop this bill. You are doing so much more harm than good. As the research shows, lives are literally on the line.
And a short note to the transgender youth living in North Dakota: You are loved. You are accepted the way you are. You are a deserving person. You will do great things in this life. So many of us in North Dakota believe in you.
Andrea Paradis is from Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.