(KXNET) — North Dakotans are waiting to see if Governor Doug Burgum will give his stamp of approval on a package of transgender bills.
He’s already signed two transgender athlete bans and still has more legislation to address.
Passionate testimonies have been heard from both sides of the aisle of the state capitol — but how is the rest of North Dakota feeling about these restrictions, and how will they impact our neighbors?
“When you let biological males play female sports,” argued former soccer player, Morgan Perrin, “the biological females are the ones that are behind and can’t complete.”
Perrin is an individual who stands in solidarity with the passing of bills related to transgender individuals in sports — an opinion that is common among female athletes. Many of those opposed to the idea of mixing transgender women and biological women in female sports could make these athletes more marginalized than they already are.
However, some who are more open to the idea of transgender inclusion say that these government restrictions are unconstitutional.
“I believe they should be able to participate in women’s sports,” said Minot State University student, Tristan Bolstad. “We don’t have the right to determine what they can do with themselves and what they want to do. We have no right to dictate what they should do.”
“If that’s what they want to do, if that’s what they want to pursue, they should do it,” added fellow student, Morgan Wettell.
A bill prohibiting students from using a bathroom different from his or her biological sex is now back in the house for further discussion. Many people that KX News has spoken to do not feel that trans-exclusive bathrooms would be dangerous or a threat to either party as much as it would be an uncomfortable situation.
“I would probably feel a little uncomfortable with that, honestly,” said another MSU Student.
“For girls to have a man who was transitioned to a woman, go into their bathroom, makes it uncomfortable as well,” noted student, Justyce Boppre.
LGBTQ+ advocates say that they expect to see a spike in transgender suicide rates and mental health issues as more restrictions are implemented.
“They stop talking, and their grades fall,” said Bismarck Psychiatrist and Human Rights Activist, Dr. Gabriela Balf. “So besides the fact that they are physically uncomfortable and bullied all the time, they don’t even speak. A lot of them do at times suicide, and this is something that we will be very and are concerned about.”
Trans youth health care, pronoun usage, and birth record amendments have all passed with veto-proof majorities this session. Now, other trans-related bills sit on the Governor’s desk, awaiting their fate — one of which relates to gender reassignment surgery for minors. This bill states that a doctor who performs these types of surgeries on anyone under the age of 18 will be guilty of a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.