Trans youth in South Dakota can breathe a little easier today. The South Dakota state legislature was considering two anti-trans bills that would have made life harder for trans youth in the state. The first bill would have made it illegal for k-7 teachers to talk about gender dysphoria or trans issues at school. Last week, the state legislature voted 7-2 to defer consideration of the bill until the legislative session ends for the year, effectively killing the bill.
The National Center for Transgender Equality said to The Advocate that the bill “would have prevented teachers from engaging with transgender students anytime they are bullied or targeted because of their gender identity — a sad reality for transgender youth across the country,”
Chase Strangio, an attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, told The Advocate, “I am so relieved that today the Senate State Affairs Committee in South Dakota voted down HB 1108, a bill that tried to bar mention of trans people and transness in grades K-7. Bill proponents focused on their fear that young children would ‘become trans’ if they were exposed to any mention or support of trans people. They did not pay lip service to notions of ‘privacy’ or ‘safety’ as we see in debates over bathroom bills but revealed the true motivation behind anti-trans measures: to eradicate us from existence.”
The second bill would have stopped trans students from playing on sports teams that match their gender. Currently, the South Dakota High School Activities Association allows trans students to play on the teams of their choice, but the bill being debated would have required “identifying a student’s sexual identity for the purpose of participation in high school athletics.” This bill also appears to be dead after legislators voted to defer consideration of the matter until after the legislative session. It remains to be seen whether South Dakota will try to pass these bills next year during the next legislative sessions.