Noem proposes new ban on transgender women & girls from women’s sports

A supporter for the transgender community holds a trans flag in front of counter-protesters to...
A supporter for the transgender community holds a trans flag in front of counter-protesters to protect attendees from their insults and obscenities at the city's Gay Pride Festival in Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Robin Rayne)(Robin Rayne | AP)
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 2:24 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Governor Kristi Noem is proposing new legislation that would ban transgender women and girls from women’s and girl’s sports teams in South Dakota.

In a news release Tuesday, Noem says the draft legislation would defend fairness in girls’ sports at both the K-12 and collegiate levels.

“This is about fairness. Every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success, but common sense tells us that males have an unfair physical advantage over females in athletic competition. It is for those reasons that only girls should be competing in girls’ sports,” Noem said in a statement. “Women have fought long and hard for equal athletic opportunities, and South Dakota will defend them, but we have to do it in a smart way.”

The ACLU of South Dakota calls the proposed legislation “a solution in search of a problem.”

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the ACLU said it opposes Noem’s proposed legislation and calls it an attack on transgender women and girls. It says the draft legislation 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.

“Gov. Noem’s proposed legislation is clearly fueled by a fear and misunderstanding of transgender people in our state,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “Gov. Noem says she wants to ‘promote fairness in women’s sports,’ but if that were true, she’d 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. Bills like this that seek to ban trans women and girls from participation in athletics are based on inaccurate stereotypes about biology, athleticism and gender and are not in line with South Dakota values.”

HB 1217 passed the Senate and House after being smoked out on the House floor earlier this year. Noem later vetoed the bill.

“This legislation does not have the problematic provisions that were included in last year’s House Bill 1217,” Noem said. “Those flawed provisions would have led to litigation for our state, as well as for the families of young South Dakota athletes – male and female alike.”

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