Media Contact

Janna Farley,

March 30, 2023

Gov. Doug Burgum has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited schools from referring to students by any pronouns that do not reflect the sex assigned to them at birth.

The ACLU of North Dakota opposed Senate Bill 2231. No one is harmed by allowing teachers, administrators and counselors to adopt inclusive policies that acknowledge the gender identity of their students.

The following statement can be attributed to Cody Schuler, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy manager:

“Discriminatory bills like Senate Bill 2231 are motivated by ignorance, misinformation and fear. We’re thrilled with Gov. Burgum’s decision to veto this bill.

“The practice of being intentional about using pronouns – and asking others about the pronouns they use – is all about respect. It ensures we’re using language that affirms the identities of everyone present, that doesn’t make assumptions about a person’s gender identity and promotes awareness of transgender and gender nonconforming communities. It’s really quite simple and shouldn’t be controversial!

“All people are affected by gender and have identities that need to be affirmed and respected, but many cisgender people do not need to worry about having our gender identities recognized. That isn’t the case for many gender nonconforming and transgender folks. For trans youth, especially those who cannot be safe at home, school may be one of the few places to be themselves. Trans youth thrive when they are affirmed in their gender identity, which includes being called by a name and pronouns that reflect who they are.”

About the ACLU of North Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.