PIERRE, SD – South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has stated that she is “excited” to sign a bill passed by the state legislature that will effectively ban all transgendered athletes from participating in high school and college sports with biological women and girls, according to reports.
The “Women’s Fairness in Sports” bill passed Monday in the South Dakota State Senate by a vote of 20-15 and is now headed to Noem’s desk for her signature.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDayby defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon,” Noem tweeted after news of the bill’s passing.
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One of the primary sponsors of the legislation, Republican State Senator Maggie Sutton, insisted that the bill was pro-women and not anti-trans.
“This is a very simple bill. It’s a bill to protect women’s sports,” she said. “It’s not against transgenders.”
However, Democratic state Senator Reynold Nesiba voted against the bill, saying that it was unfair.
“To me, it looks an awful lot like bullying,” he said.
South Dakota is the third state this month to pass legislation banning transgendered individuals from participating in female sports; Alabama and Mississippi have also passed bills with the same restrictions on trans-athletes, and several other states have similar laws in the works.
The passing of this bill comes as heated debates are taking place across the country on the controversy surrounding transgendered athletes – people who were born male but have since transitioned to or have identified as female – competing with biological women and girls in sporting events.
Proponents of trans-athletes being allowed to compete in female sports stress the importance of not discriminating against people who identify as a particular sex and/or gender that may differ from the one assigned to them at birth, and claim there is a way to balance inclusivity and competitive fairness.
However, opponents point out the many inherent biological advantages that come with having been born male over female competitors; from 2017 to 2019 in Connecticut, two transgendered athletes were allowed to compete in girls’ state track and field meets, where the two won a combined total of 15 indoor and outdoor state championship races. Studies also show that trans-athletes still hold significant advantages over biological females in sports even after undergoing a full year of hormone therapy.
The South Dakota “Women’s Fairness in Sports” bill will most likely face challenges in court going forward, with the state’s ACLU already denouncing it’s passing.