Prairie Action ND

North Dakota Aims to be Queer Free by 2025

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January 18, 2023 | Faye Seidler, LBGTQ+ Advocate and Activist

I’m a suicide prevention advocate that specializes in LGBTQ+ populations. While the legislative session may still introduce new bills, we already have thirteen 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. 

SB2199 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 article one, section 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. Gender Deportation Bills?

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. Defense of DNA Bills? 

Aside from that, some legislators are effectively practicing medicine without a license and going against all major medical organizations. Two bans, HB1256 and HB1301, give a solid choice between which way you’d like to prevent life saving 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. 

Conversion therapy is somehow back (HB1332), we’re banning kids from sports again (HB1249), removing queer topics from libraries (HB1205), criminalizing drag shows (HB1333), ignoring international health organizations (HB1111), allowing teachers to freely misgender kids (SB2231) and if that all somehow fails to pass what looks like a veto-proof legislative body, parents can just give public schools and hospitals the middle finger (SB2188). Not only that, in wicked witch fashion they’re coming after your dogs too (HB1364)!    

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.  

If you’d like to help prevent suicide for LGBTQ+ youth, please email at fayeseidler@gmail.com

As submitted to Prairie Action ND