Want to see Roger Hunt in heels and make-up?
Decency prevailed in one corner of the Legislature this week, as the Senate Education Committee killed both of the bills targeting transgender high school students. On Tuesday, Senate Education killed House Bill 1195, which would have eliminated the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s new transgender policy, a good policy that reinforces our commitment to letting all students participate in extracurricular sports, regardless of their gender identity. HB 1195 also established birth certificate designation as the final word on gender identity, in complete disregard of our growing knowledge of the complexity of gender.
The vote was close, 4–3, but Republican Senators Alan Solano and Deb Soholt (hmmm… where else have those two names popped up in intriguing Legislative action this week?) joined Democratic Senators Bernie Hunhoff and Jason Frerichs in successfully deferring HB 1195 to the 41st day.
Senate Education resisted another round of anti-trans discrimination Thursday when it killed House Bill 1161, which simply would have forbidden the SDHSAA from making any transgender policy. This time we got one more vote for decency, as Senator R. Blake Curd abandoned his fellow trans-nervous Republicans Bruce Rampelberg and Brock Greenfield and sided with the bill-killers.
Those testifying for HB 1161 trotted out a legalistic argument that I heard coming to the fore as opposition to these discriminatory bills rose. Rep. Roger Hunt said HB 1161 is all about respecting birth certificates and the rule of law:
Representative Roger Hunt says the SDHSAA does not have the right to dispute information on birth certificates.”They really have no authority to take a document that we use when we get passports, when we get driver’s license, and fail to recognize part of it. Where is the authority to do that? Again they’re exercising the sovereign authority that we as a legislative body should be exercising,” says Hunt [Jackelyn Severin, “Committee Kills Transgender Policy Measure,” SDPB Radio, 2015.03.05].
This argument is Roger Hunt in philosophical drag. He can’t just admit that his prejudices and insecurities require him to pick on kids who are struggling with weighty gender identity issues. So he dresses up his bigotry in “sovereign authority” and the sanctity of government documents.
So Roger, just to make sure: the next time you hear your Republican colleagues and family-values friends nodding in agreement with birthers, you’ll point out that we have no sovereign authority to question Barack Hussein Obama’s birth certificate, right?
Transgender kids are not a problem. Legislators disguising their bigotry in absurd legalisms are.