State Representative Fred Deutsch has sponsored two bills targeting transgender kids.
The first passed out of committee Monday and restricts transgender students from using bathrooms designated for people with the opposite physical sex.
That bill, HB 1008, passed the South Dakota House yesterday by a vote of 58-10.
The bill does now contain language calling for schools to provide "reasonable accommodations" for transgender students...as long as they are segregated.
Deutsch claims the bill is intended to protect the privacy of all students.
The other is a second attempt by Republican lawmakers to repeal a South Dakota High School Activities Association policy allowing transgender students to play on sports teams based on their gender identity. Libby Skarin, policy director with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota, opposes both bills.
In conversations we've had with transgender students across South Dakota and their families, it becomes abundantly clear that these kids really only want to go to school and live their lives in an authentic way.
They don't want to be singled out or segregated from their peers.
This bill creates a hostile and toxic climate in South Dakota’s education system for children who are transgender. It singles out transgender students and attacks them for being who they are by treating them differently every time they engage in an activity as simple as using the restroom or getting ready for gym class. No student’s day at school should ever be interrupted by discrimination. With this and other harmful legislation pending, South Dakota legislators seem determined to make sure the state is an unwelcoming place for LGBT people to live and work.
--Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans
The South Dakota House of Representatives’ vote in favor of discrimination against transgender students is alarming and appalling.
Today’s shameful vote puts the Mount Rushmore State on the verge of being the first state in the nation to pass legislation that is nothing more than a vile attack on students who are already vulnerable to high rates of discrimination and harassment. Fair-minded South Dakotans absolutely must stand up now and demand their lawmakers in the Senate stop this hateful legislation from moving any further.
--JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign
HB 1008 would put South Dakota school districts at risk of losing federal funds under Title IX, forcing them into an untenable position of choosing between state and federal law. It would also tie the hands of school administrators and teachers who would no longer have the flexibility they need to find workable solutions in coordination with transgender students and their parents.
Discrimination based on a person’s gender identity, a person’s transgender status, or a person’s nonconformity to sex stereotypes constitutes discrimination based on sex. As such, prohibiting a student from accessing the restrooms that match his [or her] gender identity is prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX.
--Department of Justice
The legislation would only exacerbate the discrimination and harassment that transgender students already face. Based on findings from HRC’s groundbreaking survey of over 10,000 LGBT-identified youth, the HRC Foundation, in partnership with Gender Spectrum, released a report in 2014 on gender-expansive youth – or young respondents who identified as transgender or chose “other.” Findings revealed the heartbreaking reality that gender-expansive youth take the brunt of exclusion and verbal harassment both inside and outside of school compared to their peers. For example, 40 percent of gender-expansive youth reported being excluded “frequently or often” by their peers. Nearly the same number of gender-expansive youth reported “frequently or often” being verbally harassed and called names at school, and 42 percent reported being called anti-gay slurs.
--Stephen Peters, HRC