Republican governor shocks North Dakota, vetoes bill banning trans girls from sports
via Wikimedia Commons and Ted Eytan / Flickr

There has been a tide of anti-trans paranoia washing over America's red states during the past year. Thirty-five bills have been introduced by state legislators to limit or prohibit transgender women from competing in women's athletics. There were only two in 2019.

However, this week has seen some significant pushback in multiple states.

Republican North Dakota governor Doug Burgum surprised a lot of people by vetoing a bill that would prohibit transgender girls from participating in women's sports.


The bill, known as H.B. 1298, passed in the state Senate 27-20 last Thursday and 69-25 in the House on Wednesday.

However, Burgum vetoed it because in North Dakota, there isn't an issue with trans girls playing sports.

"There is no evidence to suggest this is true," he wrote. "To date, there has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls' team. This bill's blanket prohibitions do not extend to students attending tribal or privately funded schools, thereby creating the potential for an unlevel playing field."

He also added that the North Dakota High School Activities Association already has a law on the books that requires trans girls to undergo testosterone suppression treatment for a full year before joining a girls' sports team.

The state Senate will only attempt to override the veto if the House does as well. If the votes remain the same as the initial vote, the attempt will fail.

By vetoing the bill, Burgum illustrates the fact that there was no real reason for the legislation but for conservative legislators to gain political capital off the tide of trans paranoia sweeping through America's red states. It was a brave move for him to stand up against his own party.

Watermark on Twitter twitter.com

The paranoia surrounding trans girls in sports looks a lot like the right-wing campaign against allowing trans people to use the bathroom of their gender from a few years ago.

Conservatives claimed that men were dressing as women under the guise of being transgender to assault them. But, the facts showed that there were no assaults of that nature in any states that passed laws allowing trans people to use the bathroom of their gender.

The news from North Dakota comes as three other states are rejecting anti-trans legislation as well.

In Kansas, Democratic Governor Laura Kelly said she will veto a bill passed by House Republicans that aims to prohibit trans girls from playing sports in school.

Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards recently announced he's against any new legislation that would prohibit sports participation for trans youth or limit gender-affirming healthcare.

Bills targeting trans people in North Carolina, Florida, Montana, Missouri, and Florida have all recently been set aside.

Chase Strangio, staff attorney for the ACLU and transgender rights activist, believes the recent string of legal victories should be attributed to trans rights activists. "Though this session has been brutal. Three Republican governors have vetoed (in one way or another) anti-trans laws," he tweeted. "That is a testament to incredible organizing. Forever in awe of trans organizers."

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less

For many people, seeing any animal in captivity is a tragic sight. But when an animal cannot safely be released into the wild, a captive-but-comfortable space is the next best thing.

That's the situation for a dozen female pachyderms who have joined the Yulee refuge at the White Oak Conservation Center north of Jacksonville, Florida. The Asian elephants, who are endangered in the wild, are former circus animals that were retired from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 2016. The group includes two sets of full sisters and several half-sisters. Elephants tend to live together in multi-generational family groups led by a matriarch.

Philanthropists Mark and Kimbra Walter, who fund the refuge for rare species, say they are "thrilled to give these elephants a place to wander and explore."

"We are working to protect wild animals in their native habitats," the Walters said in a statement. "But for these elephants that can't be released, we are pleased to give them a place where they can live comfortably for the rest of their lives."

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less