Laws dictating which sports teams individuals can participate in are archaic, and have no benefits to schools, communities or individuals.

As licensed healthcare professionals who routinely care for individuals from the LGBTQ+ community, we are appalled at the introduction of HB 1298, which would blatantly discriminate against youth in our state.

A mountain of research shows that supporting an individual’s gender identity drastically reduces suicide rates in youth. Rates of depression and anxiety also decrease. If North Dakota adds language into the Century Code that openly discriminates against an individual’s identity, the State sends a clear message that they don’t respect mental health or suicide rates in our state.

The North Dakota Department of Health has been in the process of creating a state advisory board that will focus on LBGTQ+ health issues. It is concerning that while the public health professionals in our government work to support transgender individuals, some members of the North Dakota State Legislature are working to discriminate against these same people.

There is no categorical advantage being male has over being female in athletics. Spontaneous genetic mutations which result in an individual possessing unique traits that place them at an athletic advantage are not routinely screened for in athletics, and are felt to occur in the same number of individuals who identify as a gender that is not congruent with their gender assigned at birth. As written, this piece of legislation is based on the personal views of its authors rather than evidence. If any of the legislators who currently support this bill would like to learn more about the anatomy and medical science behind gender identity, we welcome an open discussion.

Heidi Selzler-Echola, WHNP-BC Whitney Fear PMHNP-BC

Dr. Kayla Moorer, PhD, LP Dr. Luis Casas, MD

Dr. David Newman, MD

Naomi Tabassum, LPCC Jessica Deckert, LPCC Megan Degenstein, LPCC

Jessica Danielson, PhD, LPCC-S, NCC Farryn Helm, LPCC, RPT

Molly Secor-Turner, PhD, RN, FSAHM Mykell Barnacle, DNP, FNP-BC Danial S. Sturgill, Ph.D.

Melissa L. Johnson, MSIV Emily Coler Hanson, LMFT

Mary L Rymanowski, MSW, LICSW Mark C Daniels, PhD

Shauna Erickson, MS LMFT

Rebecca Preussler, PsyD Sara Vedvei, MS, LMFT

Barb Stanton, PhD, LPCC, LMFT

Will Pearson, LMFT

Carrie Nostrant, MSEd, NCC Kathryn Tidd, LICSW Denage Sauve, LPCC

Ashley Limesand, Mental Health Therapist Intern Madison Schill, Clinical Counseling Master’s Student Tyrza Hoines, Clinical Counseling Master’s Student

Courtney Quist, Clinical Counseling and School Counseling Master’s Student Amy Tichy, RDT, Clinical Counseling Master’s Student

Holly DeVries, Clinical Counseling Master’s Student

Marion Harris, graduate student, Clinical Mental Health

Katrina Stollenwerk, Mental Health Therapist Intern and Clinical counseling Master’s Student Anika Mundal, Clinical Counseling and School Counseling Master’s Student

Amanda Jensen, Clinical Counseling Master’s Student


Letter to the editor

North Dakota lost a good leader in 2020 upon the death of Jesse Taken Alive.  

I am writing this on Martin Luther King Day and contemplating what good leadership is all about.  Out of the downward vortex of mistreatment, broken promises, darkness, anger and hurt on the Standing Rock Reservation, Jesse Taken Alive emerged as a strong and gentle leader.  He led peaceful but relentless efforts to bring about change for his people. The person I came to know as Jay carried deep in his heart his Sioux heritage and culture and worked hard to better the lives of those who chose him to lead.

Jesse did not get discouraged and faced difficult problems with grit and a smile. A servant leader and prayer warrior, he sought not to knock down others who were oppressive and bigoted, but to lift up his people to equal standing and change others through love and kindness.  Jesse Taken Alive was a people person.  

As Chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, he negotiated and signed the first ever Government to Government compact with the State of North Dakota. I was privileged to work with him on that effort.  Jesse carried his core values and high character to the conference table and was clear about how our separate governments should be working together. His mission was to improve the relationships between Indian Country and the Capital and he was willing to have difficult discussions while looking for positive outcomes.  Even when we had disagreements, he always left the meetings with a hearty laugh, a pleasant hand shake and a bidding of good wishes.  Eventually his perseverance led to an agreement that was good for both. Jesse’s leadership example should be an inspiration for all of us. 

On the wall in my office in the Capitol building in Bismarck hung a drawing of a father and son standing over a grave on which lay an eagle feather headdress. The caption reads, “Don’t cry son, don’t cry for a man; just be glad you knew one.”   I am glad I knew Jay Taken Alive. 

Ed Schafer


[email protected]