North Dakota governor signs bill banning transgender pronouns in public schools, jobs

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum

Yesterday (May 8), North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed a bill that has a lot of people talking. The new measure, House Bill 1522, makes it completely okay to ignore the gender identity of not only public school students within the state, but faculty as well. Transgender pupils must also use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex assigned at birth.

The new law is effective immediately, The Hill reported yesterday. Under the update is also a clause that holds teachers responsible for informing parents or legal providers if their child identifies as transgender. Because the law passed North Dakota’s GOP-controlled legislature with veto-proof majorities last month, the outlet added that Burgum probably would not have even needed to sign the documentation in order for the bill to go into effect.

In a brief statement following the news, the North Dakota governor claimed the new law “largely codifies existing practices while reaffirming the First Amendment right to free speech… balancing the rights and interests of students, parents and teachers.” A similar vetoed measure, Senate Bill 2231, from March, would have banned teachers and government officials from acknowledging “expressed gender” in schools or job sites. Burgum referred to the use of transgender pronouns as “concerning language.” The outlet adds that the law passed yesterday has already become the eighth one this year directed toward the LGBTQ community.

Locals have widely disapproved of the latest announcement. “Mandatory outing of a student’s trans identity violates their privacy rights at school — particularly for trans youth who cannot be safe at home. And creating a supportive working and learning environment also requires treating people with dignity and respect, including — at a minimum — calling them by the name and pronouns they want to use. These are both unlawful and discriminatory practices,” Cody Schuler, advocacy manager of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota, expressed.

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