Fargo organization worried about how ND House bills affect LGBTQ+ community

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — A Fargo organization is worried about how several bills in the North Dakota legislature will affect the LGBTQ community.

“I just know North Dakota is better than what these bills make North Dakota look like,” Project RAI Member Kristin Nelson said.

Co-founders of Project Rainbows Are Inclusive Kristin Nelson and Devon Dolney believe it was only a matter of time before the state legislature began targeting the transgender community. The organization speaks out against bills that would force transgender people to refer to themselves by their sex at birth or face a fine of up to $1,500.

That proposed measure has since got a unanimous do not pass recommendation from the Senate Judiciary Committee during testimony but still needs to be heard on the floor.

“It was concerning but frightening because it erases our trans and nonbinary friends out of the state century code so they wouldn’t exist anymore as their trans selves,” said Nelson.

Another bill would criminalize medical care for someone going through a transition under 18-years-old.

“The first thing that really hit me was the impact that it was going to have on my child. I’m one of many parents with trans kids here in the state and it would directly impact us. I don’t think people realize how much it’s needed and how much it impacts them just to have that affirmation and be heard and listened to,” Project RAI Member Devon Dolney said.

Dolney says state leaders could use more education and understanding about what transgender people go through in order to make progress.

“Honestly, I feel like the way they’re pushing these haphazards, like the more haphazards and quickly written laws that they are throwing out there the more unintended consequences are going to come from them. I honestly think that no matter your political affiliations, we need to be careful about how our laws are written,” said Dolney.

David Clemens, a Republican Senator representing West Fargo, says if the bill passes, it will make it illegal for public funds to support anything contrary to one’s biological sex at birth.

Republican State Representative Mike Lefor of Dickinson sponsored a bill that would criminalize mention of gender identity in libraries with no clarification on what gender identity is.

He says he would like to be educated about what the trans community goes through to give them the assistance they need.

“I guess I do still have some faith. We know that there was the trans sports bill last time that, thankfully, Governor Burgum, he listened and vetoed it, and they weren’t able to override the veto because people did listen to all of the outpouring of support for our trans kids,” said Dolney.

We reached out to the authors and sponsors of these bills, but never heard back.

Categories: North Dakota News, Politics / Elections