North Dakota sets horrifying record for most anti-LGBTQ+ bills passed in a single day

Protester holds up sign reading "federal protections now" with the trans flag

North Dakota legislators have been widely criticised for passing a record-setting ten anti-LGBTQ+ bills in one day.

The state senate passed all ten bills on Monday (3 April), with eight now headed to the desk of North Dakota’s Republican governor Doug Burgum, where they will either be signed into law or vetoed. Two have been returned to the state’s House of Representatives after having amendments added.

The raft of horrifying legislation includes bans on trans students joining sports teams that match their gender identity, sweeping bans on gender-affirming healthcare for young people and a ban on public drag performances. 

Alarmingly, a bill also advancing would see the removal of trans individuals from state data collection.

The passing of 10 anti-LGBTQ+ bills represents the most legislation of its kind advanced in a single day, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), via NBC News.

North Dakota state senator Ryan Braunberger – a Democrat and out gay man – denounced the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bills being put forward during a stirring senate speech in which he recalled how he’d tried to take his own life in his youth.

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“I was lucky to survive that suicide attempt – to be here – but many others have not and will not,” Braunberger said on Monday.

The politician added that if the bills were to be passed, “kids like me across the state will feel like the world is against them. They’ll eventually feel like they can no longer go on.”

It remains unclear whether governor Burgum will veto any of the legislation being put before him. The Republican state leader recently struck down a bill that would have allowed school staff to misgender trans students.

Burgum explained at the time that the “teaching profession is challenging enough without the heavy hand of state government forcing teachers to take on the role of pronoun police”. 

LGBTQ+ advocates, including the HRC, have denounced the bills, claiming that North Dakota’s most vulnerable residents will “pay the price” for the actions of “extremist” legislators.

“It’s shameful, yet not surprising, that instead of spending their day attempting to tackle the real issues facing North Dakotans, extremist legislators… were working vigorously to rile up the far fringes of their base – and now some of the most marginalised constituents could pay the price,” Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel of HRC said in a statement.

“These ten bills – the most anti-LGBTQ+ bills to pass a single legislative chamber in one day in modern history – have the sole aim of pushing LGBTQ+ people back in the closet. 

“We urge Governor Burgum to reject this plain and simple discrimination.”

HRC claims it is tracking more than 460 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the US in 2023 alone.

These bills include proposed actions including the restriction of gender-affirming care for trans youth, bans on trans students taking part in school sports, and criminalising public drag performances, among other cruel pieces of legislation.