Senate Committee Rejects Bill Preventing Trans Girls from Playing Girls' Sports

Mar 3, 2021


A Senate panel has rejected a bill that would restrict transgender athletes from girls and women’s sports teams.   

The bill would also require that South Dakota schools and athletic associations verify all athlete’s gender.  

The bill’s author is Republican Representative Rhonda Milstead. She says the proposal is an attempt to assure equal competition by restricting transgender athletes from women’s teams.   

“There is not anyone that can deny that males have a competitive advantage over females. My goodness, you look at your house. Who carries the heavy suitcase in your house? Who digs the hole for the tree? We know that males are physically more able than we are to do things. And this plays out in sports.”  

The state high school activities association created a transgender athlete policy almost a decade ago. It requires that a trans athlete provide documentation on their gender identity before there is a decision on whether to let them compete. Only one transgender girl has played on a girls’ sports team.    

Opponents of the bill say it if it passed, it would open lawsuits against any institution that didn’t follow the requirements.   

Republican State Senator Lee Schoenbeck voted against the bill.   

This is not a South Dakota issue, we already know that,” Schoenbeck says. “All the south Dakota institutions that are charged to look out for us are saying it’s not a South Dakota problem. It’s a national cause for certain people. This creates the ability to use our states courts to sue any school that competes in South Dakota, no matter where that school is based out of.”  

Schoenbeck says the bill would have created a mountain of new paperwork for schools and the athletics association. He says no Republican ran for state government trying to grow government and called the bill a “liberal government approach.”  

The Senate panel rejected the bill 6 to 3, which effectively kills the bill for this year.