Letter: Stop targeting your friends and neighbors
Recently, conservatives nationwide have made attacks on trans people the center of their rhetorical and legislative strategy.
My parents moved to Grand Forks in 1980, after my dad became a professor at UND. I was born in United Hospital. I attended Kelly Elementary, Schroeder Junior High, and Red River High School. My parents moved away after I graduated, but I attended UND. After graduation, I worked at a local tech company.
Ironically, what eventually led me to move away was accepting a job at UND in 2012, working for a department that was contracted to NASA in California.
And soon, that history in North Dakota might make my life a lot more difficult. My fault, obviously. I should have chosen to be born in another state. Because a couple of years ago, I came out as a transgender woman. And recently, conservatives nationwide have made attacks on trans people the center of their rhetorical and legislative strategy. It's not really about us, so much as it is about what the moral panic against us can do for them.
I'm not writing to explain my transition, but I can assure you that it is difficult, expensive and sometimes alienating. I am writing to plead for a little bit of basic empathy and humanity.
Trans people already struggle to be treated fairly. Discrimination often limits how people see us. And the proposed bill SB 2199 put forward to prevent us from updating our birth certificates, and to force schools and employers in the state to refer to us only by our sex assigned at birth poses a unique danger to us. Any trans person who was born in the state, or who worked or went to school there, would be forced to be out as trans to future employers and others who have a reason to access those records. The purpose of this is to facilitate future discrimination against us.
Trans people are a tiny minority, half a percent of the population. Still, there are thousands of trans North Dakotans that these laws seek to harm, for absolutely no benefit. We don't deserve to be targeted by this kind of malicious legislation; we are your friends and neighbors.