The South Dakota House of Representatives passed two anti-Transgender bills Tuesday. HB 1005, which would restrict Trans students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, and SB 46, which would restrict Trans women and girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.
HB 1005 is now headed to the South Dakota Senate and SB 46 is headed to Republican Governor Kristi Noem’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law and become the first anti-Trans bill enacted in 2022 by a state.
Senate Bill 46 was authored and submitted to the legislature by Noem. The hasty passage of this bill comes after a historically bad 2021 session that saw a record number of anti-Trans bills introduced and passed across the country. Last month, South Dakotans gathered for six concurrent rallies across the state in protest of this legislation and other anti-transgender bills introduced this year.
In 2021, after issuing a style-and-form veto of an anti-trans sports ban bill, Noem issued two executive orders that effectively implemented the policy articulated in the vetoed legislation.
“The votes today by House lawmakers are shameful,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “Senate Bill 46 and House Bill 1005 reinforce the incorrect notion that transgender students are not entitled to the same dignity and respect as all students.”
On Senate Bill 46:
“Senate Bill 46 not only discriminates against trans women and girls in ways that compromise their health, social and emotional development, and safety, but also it violates federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection,” Jonelis said. “It perpetuates harmful myths about transgender people and reduces trans students to political pawns. Our lawmakers should be focused on protecting South Dakota’s youth by creating safe and welcoming environments rather than launching baseless attacks to score political points.”
On House Bill 1005:
“Transgender people, whether people know it or not, are already using the bathrooms and communal facilities they have a right to – and doing so without incident,” Jonelis said. “If House Bill 1005 is enacted, transgender people will have to make the impossible decision of breaking the law or revealing their private medical information – not to mention the obvious risk of harassment and violence that comes with forcing transgender people into the facilitates that do not match their gender identity. It is quite clear whose privacy and very lives are really at risk if our legislators continue to succumb to anti-trans fear and hatred and give it state sanction like this.”
“This early on in 2022, a year when we as a nation are facing unprecedented obstacles, it’s as heartbreaking as it is infuriating to see South Dakota lawmakers put such effort into attacking transgender youth. Bills like these are unnecessary and cruel, and we know the ugly rhetoric surrounding them is having a real impact on the mental health and wellbeing of one of our most marginalized groups of young people,” said Sam Ames, Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project.
“The Trevor Project’s research has found that transgender and nonbinary youth who reported experiencing discrimination based on their gender identity over something as basic as using the bathroom had nearly double the odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not. Lawmakers should be focusing on the real issues facing these young people and fostering spaces where everyone can be safe, not making life harder than it already is for the transgender and nonbinary youth of South Dakota.”