Republican lawmakers in North Dakota have introduced legislation seeking to prohibit transgender and nonbinary people from using pronouns according to their gender identity.
Senate Bill 1299 states that “words referring to an individual, person, employer, employee, contestant, participant, member, student, or juvenile must be used in the context of that person’s sex as determined at birth.
“Any person (who) violates this section must be assessed a fee of one thousand five hundred dollars,” the bill adds.
If the person’s gender identity or expression is contested, that determination should be established by the “individual’s deoxyribonucleic acid,” or DNA, the legislation states.
Speaking in defense of the bill on Wednesday, state Sen. David Clemens said if a person’s gender is ever challenged, the responsibility to prove their gender will fall on that individual.
“Say, they’re a boy, but they come to school and say they’re a girl. As far as that school is concerned in this bill, that person is still a boy,” Clemens, one of the authors of the legislation, said Wednesday when speaking in favor of the bill.
“If it becomes contested, the burden will be on the girl, the so-called girl, or the boy, to prove that he is a girl,” he added, according to local station KYFR-TV.
The proposed bill was put forth to the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee this week.
Clemens, who was the only person to give testimony in favor of the legislation, was at times “at a loss for words,” according to trans rights advocate Erin Reed, who live-tweeted the hearing.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to give this bill a “do not pass” recommendation.
North Dakota Sen. Ryan Braunberger, a freshman Democrat, celebrated the committee’s recommendation on Twitter, calling it a “positive step in protecting transgender ND.”
However, according to Reed the bill can still move forward, “as committees don’t have veto power there, and the chair indicated more bills are coming.”