Star Tribune: Grim news from the west, the Dakotas are a drag

UC Law assistant professor discusses anti-lgbtq legislation proposed in both North and South Dakota

A spate of anti-lgbtq legislation is making the rounds in both North and South Dakota, reports the Star Tribune, the largest newspaper in Minnesota.

In North Dakota this week, the state House voted to ban drag and cabaret performances in public or anywhere near children. There are also at least half-a-dozen other bills in the state that attempt to ban books with gay or trans protagonists from public libraries, block parents from seeking gender-affirming care for their children and limit where and when trans children can play sports.

The Star Tribune also reports that South Dakota lawmakers have proposed a ban on drag shows and other activities “where a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different from a performer’ biological sex” from college campuses or any other venue with state funding.  

State legislators in South Dakota also want to bar parents and doctors from offering gender-affirming medical care to children. A bill that would wall children away from "lewd" performances where someone is singing, speaking, dancing, acting or existing in a manner that "exhibits a gender identity that is different from the performer's biological sex through the use of clothing, makeup or other physical markers."

"It is an unusually harsh year for anti-LGBT legislation and specifically anti-trans legislation," said Ryan Thoreson, a North Dakota native and assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, told he Star Tribune.

"The rhetoric around these laws has been very dangerous — with neo-Nazis showing up to drag story hours and bomb threats phoned into hospitals offering gender affirming care," said Thoreson, who tracks LGBT rights for Human Rights Watch. "It just seems like states are doubling down on the strategy of stoking the fire and ignoring the consequences."

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Learn more about UC Law Professor Ryan Thoreson online.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

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