January 29, 2020

Ahead of today’s full chamber vote on House Bill 1057, legislation that would criminalize doctors for providing medically necessary care for transgender youth, some South Dakota legislators continue their attempts to codify discrimination against trans kids.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes Senate Bill 88 and Senate Bill 93.

Senate Bill 88 would mandate that school counselors, school psychologists or social workers disclose to a parent any young person’s identification as transgender, exploration of gender identity or reference to potential symptoms of gender dysphoria. This bill could result in forced disclosure of someone’s trans or questioning status to a non-affirming parent which could result in the young person becoming homeless or physically harmed.”

“When transgender youth face discrimination and victimization at school, it can often lead to serious negative health and mental health consequences,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “Senate Bill 88 infringes on the rights of privacy of youth and deters young people from seeking support from trusted adults in positions to counsel them.”

Senate Bill 93 would give a parent the right to refuse to consent to a range of health care treatment options, including mental health treatment, for transgender young people. Parents, however, already have broad constitutional and common law powers to make decisions about medical treatment for minor children in their care and custody that cannot be limited by legislation.

“Transgender youth are among society’s most at-risk populations,” Skarin said. “Senate Bill 93 just amounts to a proclamation of government disapproval of transgender young people and contributes to the already dangerous rates of family rejection for transgender youth.”

Like House Bill 1057, Senate Bill 88 and Senate Bill 93 would hurt transgender youth, violate federal law and expose South Dakota to legal liability. The ACLU of South Dakota is committed to ensuring that transgender South Dakotans can live openly without discrimination remains strong and urges South Dakota lawmakers to stop hurting transgender youth.

“It's time to stop these attacks on transgender youth and focus on issues that really matter to the people of South Dakota,” Skarin said.

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