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Anti-Trans 'Bathroom Bill' Becomes Law in North Dakota

Anti-Trans 'Bathroom Bill' Becomes Law in North Dakota

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum
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The bill signed by Gov. Doug Burgum restricts use of restrooms and other facilities in domestic violence shelters, college dorms, and correctional facilities.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has signed an anti-transgender “bathroom bill” into law, the eighth anti-LGBTQ+ measure he has signed this year.

The legislation, House Bill 1473, bars trans people from using the restrooms, showers, and changing rooms consistent with their gender identity in domestic violence shelters, correctional facilities, and dormitories at public colleges and universities, although dorm administrators can make “reasonable accommodation” upon request, the bill states.

Burgum, a Republican, signed it Tuesday and announced the action Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. He declined further comment on the legislation.

The bill passed largely along party lines. Rep. Eric Murphy, one of just three House Republicans who voted against it, said he thought it was unnecessary. “I don’t try to be polarizing. I just don’t think there was a need for the legislation,” he said, according to the AP.

This month, Burgum also signed a bill criminalizing the provision of gender-affirming care for trans minors and two bills barring trans girls and women from competing on female sports teams; one affects K-12 public schools, the other state colleges and universities.

During this year’s legislative session, he has approved other anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, including a “religious refusals” bill; one calling for the collection of vital statistics to be based on gender assigned at birth; one aimed at restricting drag performances, although some of the anti-drag language was watered down; and one banning gender changes on birth certificates. He vetoed a bill that would have barred teachers from using students’ preferred pronouns, and lawmakers failed to override the veto.

Several more anti-LGBTQ+ bills are pending in the legislature, and North Dakota could end up passing more homophobic and transphobic legislation than any other state this year, the Human Rights Campaign reports.

On Burgum’s latest action, HRC State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley issued this statement: “LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender women experiencing domestic abuse and those currently incarcerated, already live in fear given the heightened risks of violence and harassment they face. By advancing this legislation, Governor Burgum and his extremist allies in the legislature have placed the most vulnerable members of our community in harm’s way. Advocates for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault support full inclusion of transgender people. Stopping people from using a restroom aligning with their gender identity will do nothing to create jobs, grow the economy, and lift up the most marginalized North Dakotans. The governor should be ashamed for signing this bill into law.”

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