S. Dakota bill restricts trans students’ restroom access — but GOP governor has never met a trans person
Trans students in South Dakota will not be allowed to use restrooms according to their gender identity following the passage of a bill on Tuesday by the state’s Republican-dominated Senate.
Buzzfeed reported that House Bill 1008 will be sent to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s (R) desk within a few days.
Daugaard said last week that he had never “met a transgender person that I’m aware of,” but argued that that fact would not affect his ability to assess the measure.
“I generally haven’t met with proponents or opponents of other bills,” he said at the time. “I want to try and be objective to both sides, and I think having that separation that you gain through archived testimony helps you be a little bit more objective and not let emotion sway you.”
The bill, the first of its kind passed on a state level, runs contrary to federal Title IX guidelines, which include anti-trans discrimination in their ban on gender-based discrimination.
“This issue has been thrust upon us by an activist group of bureaucrats in Washington, DC,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Brock Greenfield (R). “It’s only been a product of recent decisions made at the federal level.”
Like many conservatives, Greenfield has argued that allowing trans students to use restrooms or locker rooms according to their gender identity could put young women at risk of harm.
“Do you feel it appropriate for a 13-year-old girl to be exposed to the anatomy of a boy?” he asked.
But Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin argued in a statement on Tuesday that the majority of the measure’s supporters were out-of-state lobbyists.
“It begs the question; do our state politicians truly represent the people of South Dakota, or do they represent outsider lobbyists and interest groups?” Griffin asked. “Governor Daugaard should listen to his actual constituents and veto this bill and send a strong message that discrimination isn’t a South Dakota value and there’s simply no place for it in our schools, community, and state.”