The latest state-level attempt to micromanage gender identity among trans youths comes in South Dakota, where two Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that specifically designates locker room use by students in accordance with their sex at birth.
A similar bill was actually vetoed by Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard last year, who appropriately said of that bill that it “does not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota” and would instead needlessly “impose statewide standards” and “remove the ability of local school districts” to determine what is best for their students.
Of the new attempt by Republican State Senator Lance Russell, resident advocates responded warily on behalf of the students who would be singled out:
Libby Skarin, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, said in a statement that lawmakers should reject the bill and “and all attempts to codify discrimination.”
“It’s disappointing that legislators are targeting transgender kids, who are already very vulnerable,” said Terri Bruce, a 53-year-old transgender man who fought against the bill last year. “Transgender girls are girls. Transgender boys are boys. Period,” Bruce said. “Do we really have to do this again?”
For his part, Governor Daugaard has already signaled his intention to veto any bill that is “substantially the same” as last year’s.
But conservative activists have fixed doggedly on the issue, and it is possible a ballot measure that echoes the language of the legislation may go before the state’s voters next year. So-called “bathroom bills” are likewise in vogue at the state level, including the notorious HB2 bill in North Carolina.