South Dakota wants to make women’s sports for women only.
On Monday, the South Dakota Senate voted 20-15 to make biology the determining factor for anyone seeking to play women’s sports, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted that she would sign the bill when it reaches her.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon,” she tweeted.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
Although lawmakers were told that only one transgender competitor in the past 10 years has been approved by the South Dakota High School Activities Association to participate in women’s sports, many said they want to preserve women’s sports for those who are born female.
Proponents of bills to limit women’s sports to females have noted that transgender competitors have a physiological advantage.
“My heart breaks for future generations. The decision you make today will affect future generations,” said Republican Sen. Maggie Sutton, who sponsored the bill, according to WGN-TV. “I’m asking you today to protect women’s sports.”
Opponents said the bill reflected bias.
“It’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life,” said Jett Jonelis, the advocacy manager for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota.
But lawmakers who supported the bill said biology ought to dictate who competes as female.
“I just want to stand and state some facts, regarding biological males and females,” said Republican Sen. Erin Tobin, who then cited strength differences and other physical comparisons between the genders, according to the Herald.
Republican Sen. Jim Bolin noted that at the state track meet each spring, the height of the hurdles is always raised for men.
He called that simple act “a clear illustration” of the biological differences between males and females.
The legislation requires that participants in girls’ and women’s sanctioned sports provide documentation to the state that shows their sex at birth and the results of drug tests.
President Joe Biden in January issued an executive order on gender identity that said, in part, “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
Former South Carolina Gov. and American ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley denounced the direction Biden’s administration is heading in an Op-Ed in National Review.
“Across the sporting world, the game is being rigged against women and in favor of biological men,” she wrote, noting that biology cannot be ignored in favor of politics.
“The world’s fastest female sprinter has nine Olympics medals, but nearly 300 high-school boys are still faster than her. In states where biological boys compete against girls, the girls almost always lose — not just the match, but also possible college scholarships and a lifetime of success in their favorite sport. Their chance to shine is being stolen,” she wrote.
Haley said it is time to stand up for the rights of females.
“Justice and equality are on the line, and common sense is just as important as compassion. Women haven’t run this race only to find we never had a chance to win,” she wrote.
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