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North Dakota Governor Signs Transgender Bathroom Bill

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, a Republican, has signed legislation requiring people to use multi-occupancy restrooms and shower rooms designated for their biological sex at certain state-run facilities.

Among the facilities that the new law applies to are prisons, youth correctional centers, dormitories, or any housing controlled by the state board of higher education.

The bill had passed the state’s House and Senate with veto-proof majorities.

Under this law, college staff or correctional officers may provide “reasonable accommodation” to transgender people who request to use a restroom that does not align with their biological sex.

“An administrator or correctional facility staff member shall provide a reasonable accommodation for an inmate, including a transgender or gender-nonconforming inmate, as deemed appropriate by the administrator,” the bill states.

Last week, Gov. Burgam signed a law that prohibits providing sex change hormones or surgical procedures to minors.

Under this legislation, it is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines for a healthcare provider to perform a sex change surgery on a minor. It is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 360 days in prison and $3,000 in fines, to provide a child with sex change hormones or puberty blockers.

In many cases, sex change procedures and hormones can irreversibly sterilize the patient.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement condemning the law.

“By signing this bill into law, Gov. Burgum has put the government in charge of making vital decisions traditionally reserved for parents in North Dakota,” Cody Schuler, the ACLU’s advocacy manager, said in a statement. “This ban won’t stop North Dakotans from being trans, but it will deny them critical support that helps struggling transgender youth grow up to become thriving transgender adults.”

The ACLU is currently tracking 17 bills in the state that the organization claims are “anti-LGBTQ.”

Earlier this month, the governor signed another bill prohibiting biological men and boys from joining female sports teams in K-12 and college. He had vetoed a nearly identical bill in 2021, when the lawmakers who passed it did not have enough votes to override it.

Though he signed the bill, Burgum claimed that “there still has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl playing or entering the process to even ask to play on a North Dakota girls’ team.”

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