Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law House Bill 1522, legislation that would ban transgender students from using the restrooms that match their gender identity, force teachers and schools to “out” a trans student to their parents, and prohibit schools and government entities from adopting policies that acknowledge the gender identity of their students or employees.
The ACLU of North Dakota opposed House Bill 1522. No matter how lawmakers try to spin it, this bill wasn’t really motivated by privacy or safety concerns or even the rights of parents. It was motivated by ignorance, misinformation and a fear of transgender North Dakotans.
The following statement can be attributed to Cody Schuler, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy manager:
“It doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights to share spaces with those who are different. Like previous efforts to expel people of color, people with disabilities, and others from communal spaces, these arguments for privacy and safety just mask a fear of difference.
“By signing House Bill 1522, Gov. Burgum is forcing transgender students to make the impossible decision of breaking the law or revealing their private medical information – not to mention the obvious risk of harassment and violence that comes with forcing transgender students into the facilitates that do not match their gender identity. It is quite clear whose privacy and very lives are really at risk now that House Bill 1522 is law.”
“Additionally, 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.
“The fight for trans rights is not about ‘special rights’ – it’s about fundamental rights. It’s about fairness and equality for all.”
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.