South Dakota Governor Signs “Cruel and Dangerous” Transgender Athletes Ban

Thursday’s condemnation by LGBTQ+ rights advocates of a South Dakota law prohibiting transgender students playing in sports teams that reflect their gender identity was a sign of support for LGBTQ+ rights.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports Gov. Kristi Noem, Republican with 2024 presidential aspirations, cited “fairness” as she signed S.B. 46, which stipulates that scholastic teams of sports from kindergarten through collegiate levels must be segregated by the sex assigned at conception.

Mark Miller, Noem’s chief of staff and lead counsel, last month likened transgender athletes’ participation on school sports teams that match their gender identity to “terrorism.”

“You see it elsewhere and don’t want it to get to South Dakota,” he said.

The ACLU tweeted Thursday that “this cruel and dangerous bill is part of a coordinated attack on trans youth moving nationwide.”

S.B. S.B. 46, the first bill of this type to be signed into law in this year’s legislative session, will take effect on July 1st, although legal challenges could delay its implementation.

H.B. 1005, a second anti-trans measure was passed Tuesday by the South Dakota House. H.B. 1005, which would ban transgender students from using toilets that correspond with their gender identity was passed Tuesday by South Dakota House and sent to the state Senate.

Kris Wilka (a 14-year old transgender boy who plays football at Harrisburg North Middle School in Sioux Falls) will be expelled from the team when the new law takes place.

“Sports is my life,” Wilka told NBC News. “My world revolves around football, and I don’t know if I would be able to function without it.”

Cathryn Oakley, senior counsel and state legislative director for Human Rights Campaign, is the Human Rights Campaign’s senior counsel said in a statement that “instead of focusing on the real issues affecting the people of South Dakota, Gov. Noem and anti-LGBTQ+ state legislators continue their relentless, baseless, and patently discriminatory attacks against transgender kids.”

“They show no shame,” she continued. “The governor’s eagerness to pass a bill attacking transgender kids reveals that her national political aspirations override any sense of responsibility she has to fulfill her oath to protect South Dakotans.”

“Gov. Noem and South Dakota legislators need to stop playing games with vulnerable children,” Oakley added. “Transgender children are children. They have the right to play with their peers. This legislation isn’t solving an actual problem that South Dakota was facing: It is discrimination, plain and simple. Shame on Governor. Noem.”

According toThe Human Rights Campaign reported that more than 250 pieces antiLGBTQ+ legislation had been introduced in 31 U.S. States last year. In addition, 17 new laws were enacted by 10 states.

Hoera Kingi is an Oglala Lakota and Ngāti Kahungunu transgender two-spirit woman. Indigenous peoples have been recognizing and valuing the non-binary, two-spirit identity since centuries before white settlers conquered what is now South Dakota.

S.B. 46, the former cheerleader at high school said that not being able to compete on sports teams “would’ve been devastating to me.”

“It would’ve stopped me from meeting my favorite people and [making] my most cherished memories,” she added.