Governor Kristi Noem’s office is reviewing a bill that restricts transgender girls from girl’s sports teams.
The bill is modeled after legislation in more than a dozen states.
Critics say state lawmakers are targeting the LGBTQ community to make political points.
About a dozen protestors chant outside the Governor’s Mansion in Pierre. They want Governor Kristi Noem to veto the bill that targets trans girl athletes.
Stephanie Marty is a transgender woman from Sioux Falls. Marty says teenagers considering gender transition counseling or surgery are not doing it for a competitive athletic advantage.
“There is no one in their right mind that would go through the hell that it is to transition to get an edge on someone else,” Marty says. “It just doesn’t happen.”
However the intention of the bill is to prevent unfair sports competition. Republican Representative Rhonda Milstead is the prime sponsor of the bill. When it was introduced, the bill was nearly identical to a measure signed into law in Mississippi. Milstead says a similar bill in Idaho served as a template for the South Dakota proposal.
“That’s what we did with it,” Milstead says. “That’s a way that we can work together to make something better.”
The bill in Idaho is on hold facing legal challenges in the 9th circuit court. The challenge contends the bill would discriminate on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
State Senator’s passed the South Dakota version of the bill on Monday. That day, Governor Noem tweeted she was excited to sign the bill. Now, it’s under review.
“In regards to this piece of legislation, we’re evaluating that and we’ll move forward based on that evaluated based on what I put every bill through,” Noem says.
The governor has until March 26th to take action on the bill.