Transgender Bill Against Women’s Sports in South Dakota

POSTED April 26, 2021

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order on March 29, 2021 specifically restricting the participation of girls and women sports teams across South Dakota  public high schools and colleges to people who are assigned female at birth.

 Despite that, earlier this month state lawmakers tried to pass a bill banning transgender athletes from playing on a team that aligns with their identity. Noem did not sign this bill stating she did not think it would last through legal challenges. 

Kristi Noem tweeted on March 29, 2021 “Only girls should play girls’ sports. Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics.

By issuing this bill Noem is requiring all schools to annually collect and record the athletes gender at birth. Transgender advocates say that the efforts to cut off the right of transgender girls and women from sports are depriving them of support, the thing they need the most making such a hard transition.

“It’s beyond time for elected officials in South Dakota to stop these unnecessary yearly attacks on transgender people.” said by Susan Williams, an advocate.“We’re really calling on Gov. Noem and legislators to recognize the serious physical, emotional and psychological harm that this would cause trans kids across South Dakota,” said Williams.

 Noem is also trying to prevent future legal action with that bill, such as students being able to sue the school for gender discrimination. The likelihood of this bill passing, would be exactly the same as the last on that was attempted but Noem turned down. That bill passed with a vote of two-thirds in both chambers. 

 There are two main arguments over the controversy. 

One states “This is a very simple bill. It’s a bill to protect women’s sports,” says Republican State Sen. Maggie Sutton, one of the primary sponsors of the legislation. “It’s not against transgenders,” Sutton says.

 The other side says “To me, it looks an awful lot like bullying,” says Democratic state Sen. Reynold Nesiba, who voted against the bill. There are roughly 40,000 students who participate in high school sports, and by this bill passing the schools will be documenting all of their “reproductive biology”. Critics say that this bill will be violating Title 7 and Title 9 of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating based on sex.

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