PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release)- On Friday, the Senate State Affairs Committee voted to advance Senate Bill 46, legislation that would ban transgender women and girls from competing on the 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 those who are transgender – from discrimination based on sex.
“Senate Bill 46 attempts to solve a problem that does not exist while slamming the door shut for transgender student athletes to fully participate in their school communities,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “Transgender students participate in sports for the same reasons other young people do: to challenge themselves, to stay fit and healthy and to be a part of a team. Trans students’ humanity, dignity, and ability to be full members of their school communities should never be up for debate like this.”
Senate Bill 46, which was introduced on behalf of Gov. Kristi Noem, is intended to inflame a political reaction, not protect fairness in women’s sports. South Dakota has not seen any issues with transgender women or girls competing in sports. The South Dakota High School Activities Association already has a policy in place for transgender athletes. Likewise, the NCAA also has clear policies on the inclusion of transgender student-athletes and their participation in intercollegiate athletics.
“If Gov. Noem really wanted to protect fairness in women’s sports, she would tackle the actual threats to women’s sports such as severe underfunding, lack of media coverage, sexist ideologies that suggest that women and girls are weak, and pay equity for coaches,” Jonelis said. “It’s obvious that this discriminatory legislation is about solving problems that don’t exist.”