The South Dakota Legislature’s Transphobia

After a short-lived victory in January, transgender students in South Dakota are once again being targeted with legislation that would put them at greater risk and, at the same time, cause serious damage to the state’s reputation and economy.

On Jan. 24, lawmakers in the state Senate scuttled a bill requiring transgender students to participate in high-school athletics based on the gender they were assigned at birth. A broad coalition — including the largest school district in the state, faith leaders, doctors, athletes, and parents — came together to oppose the measure.

A similar bill has now been reintroduced along with two others that would harm transgender kids. The bills are each unique, but they have a common goal: To attack transgender people, particularly transgender students and their families.

HB 1225 is a near clone of the now-dead SB 49. It would exclude transgender student-athletes from enjoying the same opportunities and programs as their peers. It would force transgender kids to play sports according to the gender on their birth certificates and overturn a policy that has successfully been in place for years. The bill flies in the face of doctors; sports associations, such as the NCAA and the International Olympic Committee; and local school administrators, who understand the importance of providing equal educational opportunity to transgender students.

HB 1108 would prohibit the discussion of “gender identity” and “gender expression” in kindergarten through seventh-grade classrooms. While this bill is clearly meant to target transgender kids, it’s so broad and poorly written that it has implications for all students. Everyone has a gender identity, after all. The bill, which passed out of committee on Wednesday, would prevent teachers and administrators from creating a safe and welcoming educational environment for all students.

The third bill, HB 1205, was thankfully defeated on Thursday. The bill claimed that it would protect parents and guardians from any adverse governmental action for denying their minor children treatment of any kind to support gender transition. Parents already have broad authority and power to make health-care decisions for minor children in their care. The bill was a proclamation by the government that it disapproves of transgender young people.

All three bills come on the heels of year-after-year legislative attacks against transgender people in South Dakota.

Each time an anti-trans bill is introduced, the ACLU of South Dakota is flooded with calls from scared kids and their families. They just want to know that they can go to school without being discriminated against, targeted, or bullied. Every kid in our state deserves to be treated fairly and with dignity and respect. These bills put those shared values at risk.

With recent nondiscrimination advances in New Hampshire and wins at the ballot box in Anchorage and Massachusetts where nondiscrimination protections were affirmed, attacks against transgender students in states like South Dakota can go unnoticed by most people.

South Dakota kids need the rest of the country to understand what’s happening and to get involved. The legislation that’s being road tested here will find its way to other state capitols if it isn’t defeated. The backlash to the anti-trans HB 2 in North Carolina demonstrates the collective power that can be exerted when business leaders, tourists, sports associations, and everyday people let their values guide their wallets and when they raise their voices.

The danger this legislation creates is real. The potential harm to South Dakota is significant, and the stakes for transgender students are high. Kids are hurting.

Every student deserves to go to school, to feel safe and supported, and to be given an opportunity for success. We need to let transgender kids in South Dakota know that they aren’t alone and that people have their backs and will stand with them against discrimination.

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Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

I can accept that there are transgender people in the world. Although I have never met her, my best friend forever's father had transgender surgery back in 1978. To eliminate confusion I would like a clarification as to which type of transgender person a transgender person is. Is it male to female transgender or a female to male transgender person ? Knowing this eliminates confusion.

Anonymous

It is both! Some males identify as females and want to be female and some females identify as male. It doesnt matter either way, it is NOT a problem in SD. Leave em alone a quit this nonsense every year.

Anonymous

A person assigned female at birth, or AFAB, who is male, is a female-to-male transgender person or transgender man. A person in this situation most likely uses he/him pronouns, a masculine name, and expresses their gender in a masculine way, though not always. Those who need medical interventions in this case undergo hormone replacement therapy with testosterone injected every week to every other week, as I have done for years, and may undergo a bilateral mastectomy to ease their distress over their chest, otherwise known as “top surgery.” Genital surgeries include phalloplasty and metoidioplasty, which both create a penis for the patient from either new or existing tissue.

Someone born male, but transitioning to female, or AMAB (assigned male at birth) would be a male-to-female transgender person, or transgender woman. This type of person would most often use she/her pronouns and express themselves more femininely. Options for medical transition to those who need it are more diverse because transgender women have been studied more in-depth, and so an example of a medical transition could be taking estrogen pills for several years, getting a breast augmentation (breast implants), getting a vaginoplasty procedure (using the tissue of the penis to create a vagina), and possibly facial feminizing surgery.

This comment doesn’t get into transgender people who aren’t men OR women, but for all intents and purposes, “transgender person” could mean both female-to-male, or male-to-female.
I hope that clarifies the difference between the two!

Anonymous

High school children can't have the full surgeries so trans"girls" have penises and trans"boys" have vaginas, uteri, fallopian tubes, and the rest of the package.

Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

Now I am more confused then ever.

Brigitte

Gloria???
Why in gods earth would it matter whether someone is MTF or FTM???? Or anywhere in between?? A Trans student is just that a Trans student... nothing more, nothing less.. What is their underwear? is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS... I certainly don't know what confusion knowing would eliminate. After seeing your posts that were very similar to the you posted here... I'm beginning to wonder if you are really a pedophile.. looking to get your kicks.... How about you describing your genitals to me, right here, right now? Does that offend you that I would ask that? GOOD, because THAT? is exactly what you are asking with your comments like the one you made here.....

Anonymous

I vote for the unborn babies rights to live

Anonymous

That's fair. If an embryo is now a person you can no longer deport anyone pregnant since they are carrying an US citizen.

Anonymous

Title IV gave girls the right to their own sports teams and facilities so that they wouldn't be intimidated out of sports and academics. One of the first things some schools did to try to bypass Title IV was say that girls could play on boys teams - knowing that most would be too uncomfortable or just wouldn't be able to compete. Biological boys SHOULD NOT be allowed to identify their way around Title IV because it weakens the Civil Rights protections that Title IX gives to biological girls. If biological males are allowed on girls' sports teams and in their facilities then we might as well throw Title IX out the window.

Anonymous

Absolutely. In a rush to 'include' everyone, we trample over the rights of biological females. Whatever Title IX's original intent, it was never meant to include gender identity. Doing so puts male bodies in female sports where they have a natural physiological
advantage no matter their stage in transition. The inclusion of male athletes like Andraya Yearwood makes a mockery of female sports.

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