John M. Becker

SD House Advances Bill Attacking Trans Students

Filed By John M. Becker | February 09, 2015 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: anti-trans legislation, GOP, high school, legislative bullying, Republican Party, Republicans, South Dakota, trans athletes, trans students

south-dakota-map.gifToday, lawmakers in the South Dakota House State Affairs Committee voted 10-2 to advance HB 1195, a bill attacking transgender high school students.

The measure would overturn the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA)'s transgender policy, which allows for every student to participate in high school sports in a manner consistent with their gender identity and/or expression, "irrespective of the gender listed on the student's records."

It also establishes a procedure to review requests from trans students, ensures that approval, once granted, applies across all sports and lasts for the entirety of the student's high school career, and reminds schools to "use correct names/pronouns according to the student's self-identification."

But HB 1195 sponsor Rep. Jim Bolin, a Republican, objects to this common-sense policy, claiming -- against all available evidence -- that it changes "the nature and character of high school athletics." Bolin's measure declares that "the sole determinant of a student's sexual identity [sic] is the sexual identity [sic] noted on the student's certificate of birth," essentially forcing most transgender students to misgender themselves if they want to participate in high school sports.

On Twitter, Equality South Dakota called the advancement of HB 1195 "unfortunate" but applauded trans students, PFLAG, the SDHSAA, labor leaders, and educators for testifying against it. In a statement provided to The Bilerico Project, EQSD board member Tamara Urban said the proposed law is a "direct violation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act."

The measure now advances to the full South Dakota House, which is dominated by Republicans. A related anti-LGBT bill (HB 1161), which would block the SDHSAA from setting any future policies on sexual orientation or gender identity "other than the basic distinction between the male and female high school activities," is also winding its way through the legislative process.

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