South Dakota Governor Noem’s national ad touts anti-trans sports bill
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem released a national ad promoting the transgender exclusionary sports bill that was just introduced in the state.
Noem, a Republican, rejected such legislation last year, fearing retaliation from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, but she issued executive orders decreeing that “only women, based on their biological sex, as directed on their birth certificate or affidavit provided during initial registration,” may participate in women’s or women’s sports. One was for public K-12 schools and the other was for public colleges and universities.
Now she is backing a bill that would enshrine the language of the executive orders into law. The South Dakota Senate State Affairs Committee approved the bill on Friday, pushing it through the entire Senate.
The ad, which debuted Thursday on prime-time news programs around the country, does not use the words “transgender” or “trans”, instead stating that Noem wants to protect women’s and women’s sports. It starts with “In South Dakota, only girls play girls’ sports. Why? Due to Governor Kristi Noem’s leadership. Noem has been protecting women’s sport for years and has never backed down.
Announcing the announcement on Twitter, she wrote that her bill “will give South Dakota the toughest law protecting women’s sports in the nation.”
LGBTQ+ advocates have long opposed the characterization of ‘protection’, saying it views girls and women as weak, and challenge the idea that trans women have an inherent and unfair advantage over cisgender women. . Many scientists also dispute this.
There is no widespread dominance of women’s and women’s sports by trans women, and in most states that have considered or passed trans exclusionary sports bills, politicians have been unable to name a single case of trans participation causing a problem in their state.
Activists quickly denounced Noem’s announcement and the legislation itself. “This ad not only discriminates, it erases transgender people and dehumanizes them, placing a target on the backs of an already vulnerable community,” Joni Madison, acting president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “To do so on the national stage – in a brazen attempt to score political points with his base – makes these attacks particularly egregious. In fact, it is the women and girls of South Dakota that Governor Noem is attacking. Banning transgender girls from participating in school athletics alongside their peers is a radical political talking point — one that Noem uses to further his national political ambitions, but that doesn’t serve South Dakota’s best interests. At stake is the safety of transgender youth, who face increased discrimination in their communities, leading last year to the highest incidence of deadly violence against transgender and non-binary people on record. Noem’s ad uses attacks on children in the service of a divisive and discriminatory political agenda. Every child deserves to be nurtured and supported by their leaders and government, not targeted and dehumanized. Lawmakers must defeat this divisive bill to avoid tarnishing South Dakota’s reputation and hurting the children serving Governor Noem’s selfish political game.
“Equity should never mean exclusion. We can promote girls’ sport and transgender inclusion at the same time. Blanket bans that prevent transgender students from participating in school sports remain unfair and unnecessary,” Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project, said in a press release. “A recent Trevor Project poll found that 85% of transgender and non-binary youth said recent debates around anti-trans bills had a negative impact on their mental health – and nearly one in three said fear.
“I’m sure Governor Noem would much rather talk about this issue than her response to the pandemic,” said Gillian Branstetter, media officer for the National Women’s Law Center. NBC News. “We have much bigger problems, for example problems that exist! These would be good problems to solve rather than conjuring up fictional ghosts of a changing society and trying to exploit people’s ignorance.
Nine states have enacted laws prohibiting trans students from participating in school sports under their gender identity: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Idaho passed its law in 2020, the others last year. Laws in Idaho and West Virginia have been blocked by the courts. Legislation to this effect was opposed by the governors of Kansas, Louisiana and North Dakota. A new wave of such legislation is emerging in various states during this year’s session.