Bill Targeting Trans Student Athletes Fails in South Dakota


On Monday, the South Dakota State House narrowly voted against a bill seeking to reject a policy that allows transgender students to play on whichever sports team matches their gender identity.

The vote was an even split, 34-34, failing to garner the majority required for its transfer to the the state Senate. NBC News reports that this was the fourth anti-trans bill proposed and subsequently rejected by South Dakota lawmakers this session.

State House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, who sponsored the bill, claimed the anti-trans measure was actually about maintaining high levels of sportsmanship, “South Dakota is breaking no new ground by doing this. This is all about fair competition.” Qualm finished up the thought with a sort of fascistic school spirit chant: “Boys competing against boys, girls competing against girls, based on the birth certificate.”

Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, told Out on Tuesday:

“There is this real energy in certain states to attack trans people, in particular trans students, through the legislative process. When you listen to hearings [on these bills], it’s clear that the proponents are attempting to encourage trans people to live in their birth-assigned sex and prevent people from becoming trans.”

Strangio added, “There’s such a focus on Trump and the federal government that little attention is paid to the state level where so many of the legislative attacks on trans existence are playing out.” In addition to the four rejected bills out of South Dakota, Strangio pointed to recently proposed anti-trans legislation in Mississippi and Tennessee.

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