The Senate State Affairs Committee passes a discriminatory anti-transgender sports bill. ACLU comments. — South Dakota Standard

The Senate Committee on State Affairs voted to move forward Senate Bill 46 Friday morning. It’s a law that would ban transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposes Senate Bill 46, legislation that violates both the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which protects all students – including including those who are transgender – discrimination based on sex (leading to proofs like the one shown above in yahoo!sports).

“Senate Bill 46 tries to fix a problem that doesn’t exist while slamming the door on transgender student-athletes fully participating in their school communities,” said Jett Jonelis, advocacy officer for the ACLU of South Dakota. “Transgender students participate in sports for the same reasons as other young people: to challenge themselves, to stay fit and healthy, and to be part of a team. The humanity, dignity and ability of trans students to be full members of their school community should never be the subject of such a debate.

Senate Bill 46, which was introduced in the name of Governor Kristi Noem, aims to inflame a political reaction, does not protect fairness in women’s sport. South Dakota has not had any issues with transgender women or girls participating in sports.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association has already has a policy in place for transgender athletes. Similarly, the NCAA also has clear policies on the inclusion of transgender student-athletes and their participation in intercollegiate athletics.

“If Governor Noem really wanted to protect fairness in women’s sport, she would address the real threats to women’s sport, such as severe underfunding, lack of media coverage, sexist ideologies that suggest women and girls are low and pay equity for coaches,” Jonelis said. “It’s obvious that this discriminatory legislation is about solving problems that don’t exist.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and improving civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of South Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and Wyoming. The South Dakota team is supported by personnel from those states.

Jana Farley is the communications director for the ACLU South Dakota

Norman D. Briggs