Kristi Noem: South Dakota Governor to sign a bill, banning trans women and girls from participating in female sports.
Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, said on Monday that she will sign the ‘Women’s Fairness in Sports Bill’, passed by South Dakota Republican-dominated Senate with a 20-15 vote, which will restrict transgender girls and women from participating in female sports leagues at public schools.
The governor tweeted on March 8 (USA), “In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon.”
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
However, whether it ultimately takes permanent effect in South Dakota shall likely be decided in federal court.
The governor’s spokesperson stated that they expected South Dakota will become the first state this year to pass legislation of such kind, which got outrun by Mississippi, which passed a bill 81-28 earlier this month in the house to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports teams.
Meanwhile, Idaho is the only state which has enacted a law curtailing trans students’ sports participation, which has been blocked by a court ruling.
Reaction to the bill
The proponents called the bill a way to promote fairness in women’s sports. Meanwhile, Republican Senator VJ Smith told that it is a ‘political statement’ that would start a legal battle in the court. Furthermore, lawmakers in 20 states reportedly weigh similar legislation.
The Human Rights Campaign slammed the bill as well as the governor for its endorsement. The organisation replied to the tweet by Kristi Noem,”Trans girls and their families are your constituents. You are using your power to exclude kids and make them feel less than, and that is nothing to be proud of.”
Trans girls and their families are your constituents. You are using your power to exclude kids and make them feel less than, and that is nothing to be proud of. https://t.co/hQA1Faifty
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 8, 2021
American Civil Liberties Union, the renowned non-profit organization championing civil liberties, equally criticised and testified against the bill via its advocacy manager Jett Jonelis.
“In an attempt to ‘level the playing field,’ House Bill 1217 excludes an entire group of women and girls from meaningful participation in sports. House Bill 1217 isn’t about protecting fairness in women’s sports. It’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life,” Jonelis firmly stated.
The high school activities association of the state opposed the bill and reportedly said that it evaluates applications from transgender girls on a case-by-case basis. The association further added that its process was the best way to support transgender students as well as maintain competitive fairness in sports.
As per the reports, only one transgender girl, who has now graduated, has played in girls’ leagues in the state.
Joe Biden’s executive order
The passing of the bill by the Republican-dominated Senate of South Dakota comes after US President Joe Biden issued an executive order in January, calling for schools across the country to allow students to participate in sports teams as the gender they identify with.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated, “The president’s belief is that trans rights are human rights. And that’s why he signed that executive order.”
Feature Image Credits: NY Times