Connect with us

Local News

Legislators proposed a pronoun bill



Bismarck, North Dakota – Who would have imagined that something as basic as pronouns could cause such rifts among North Dakota’s legislators?

“It’s another week in the Legislative Session and we have another bill that’s telling certain people that they have value or don’t have value in our state,” said Representative Josh Boschee, D-Fargo.

“This protects all children. This also upholds parental rights and therefore parental confidence that their child is safe at school,” said Representative Lori VanWinkle, R-Minot.

Bill 2231, which would forbid state agencies and public schools from requiring the use of pronouns that don’t correspond to a person’s given sex at birth, was approved by the House of Representatives.

“This is a back to the basics bill. We are returning to the required constitutional obligation as lawmakers regarding education. Teachers are also able to rest with relief that they only need to remember one name and a set of historically recognized biological pronouns,” said Representative Lori VanWinkle, R-Minot.

Yet, other legislators believe that rather than protecting children, especially trans children, HB 2231 puts them in danger.

“The real threats to children are poverty, hunger, lack of healthcare, gun violence, bigotry, social pressures, mental health, and bills like these,” said Representative Mary Schneider, D-Fargo.

Supporters claim that this is a critical issue in schools.

“If that teacher makes a mistake and doesn’t call someone by the right pronoun, are they somehow subject to discipline? This is just common sense. It really is saying, neither is required nor prohibited,” said Representative SuAnn Olson, R-Baldwin.

There is no criminal consequence specified in the measure. However, those opposed contend that it just serves as a warning to Gay students and wishes to see the chamber reverse its position.

“We can send a signal to North Dakotans saying, ‘we may not understand you, we may not agree with you, but at the same time, we’re going to let the teachers in your classroom, who just want you to be successful, treat you how you want to be treated,’” said Representative Boschee.

By a vote of 60 to 32, it was approved. The House and Senate both approved the bill. This transgender-related measure did not pass the House with a veto-proof majority, in contrast to some of the others. Governor Burgum hasn’t said whether or how he’ll respond to it.