In the last few months we’ve been hearing about trans youth from individuals with huge platforms such as JK Rowlings or Joe Rogan. Recently we’ve seen the North Dakota Republican Party approve their platform with statements stating queer compulsions are primarily developmental and not genetic, LGBTQ+ practices are unhealthy and dangerous, and protections for queer folk must be stopped because they will result in lawsuits (bakers), crimes (voyeurs), and corruption of youth.

This language from the NDRP is as unfounded as it is extreme and disappointing. In North Dakota, we have the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which is a survey of approximately 10,000 students. The data from this survey is showing that our queer youth are disproportionately targets of harassment, bullying, and homelessness. The language and policy we are seeing from the NDRP will have direct harm on a group that is already suffering.

Minnesota has had comprehensive LGBTQ+ protections for over twenty five years. This list of fears is just not found when looking at the results of inclusive policy. This notion of it being a choice or lifestyle has been shelved by most of the modern world, because we are a diverse group of people belonging to every religion, political party, and community. The major medical consensus is being queer is not a choice, not contagious, and most negative outcomes these youth experience come from rejection and bigotry.

It is incredibly unfortunate that we are making the trans condition into something political, where we are listening to and being led by the feelings and opinions of people who have no actual experience or knowledge on the subject.

And while none of this may matter compared to religious freedom, it really feels like a perversion of religion to use it in a way to attack the most vulnerable because of personal feelings or political agenda.

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Our queer youth in North Dakota are already struggling beyond belief and it really should be a non-partisan issue to research and implement effective policy to reduce these negative outcomes. If a person finds themselves with a trans child, please do not follow the opinions we hear online or from politicians, please seek professional medical opinion of someone who has experience in this topic and listen to what they say.

Seidler is clinic administrator at Harbor Health Clinic in Fargo.