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Deutsch Cloaks Culture War on Transgender Kids in Student Privacy Act

Rep. Fred Deutsch, R-4/Florence
Rep. Fred Deutsch, R-4/Florence

Let’s bully women and children: that’s the legislative agenda Rep. Fred Deutsch (4-Florence) is bringing to the 2016 Session. The SD Right to Life president has already vowed to bring legislation based on the deceptive and debunked Planned Parenthood videos to wage further war on Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights. Now he tells his fellow Republicans that he plans to continue the Republican Legislature’s harassment of transgender kids with a little absurdity called the Student Privacy Act:

State Representative Fred Deutsch was there and spoke about a couple of bills he would be bringing – first and foremost being the Student Privacy Act. The “SPA” is designed to disallow the opposite sex – according to biology – to be in any state of undress amongst each other, such as in locker rooms and bathrooms.  He indicated the bill is designed to protect and shield school districts by setting the guidelines forth in state law [Pat Powers, “Coming up in the 2016 Session: Student Privacy Act, Education, Medicaid Expansion, and the First Legislative Budget,” Dakota War College, 2015.11.22].

Is it progress to see the Republican caucus moving from wanting to look at transgender kids’ genitals to wanting to prevent transgender kids from looking at the genitals of other kids of their sex-identification?

Deutsch’s bill is rooted in the terror the fundy-values crowd peddles (good grief: what is it about Republicans and fear?) over the possibility that transgender students are really tricksters out to ogle our daughters. As with most efforts rooted in fear, Deutsch’s Student Privacy Act is illogical.

Recall what I said last month when the Legislature’s interim committee on bullying the South Dakota High School Activities Association wisely took no action to trump the ability of high schools to govern themselves on transgender issues. We segregate locker rooms to prevent titillation. But some boys get turned on looking at naked boys, and some girls get turned on looking at naked girls.

If titillation is our concern, then we really don’t dare have any shared locker rooms or bathrooms, right? Otherwise, we need to have a monitor at the door asking every student, “What turns you on?” then shunt the hetero boys to one room, the hetero girls to another, the gays and lesbians into separate smaller rooms in opposite-sex pairs, and the bi kids to solitary confinement.

For that matter, can we even let kids sit next to each other in high school? You’ve got Peter Wolf sitting in class fantasizing about Angel’s soft fuzzy sweaters, too magical to touch. Titillation! Begone! Forget shared classrooms; we need to morph the Blue Ribbon proposal into a plan to educate every child safely at home by distance learning, because there’s no danger of seeing anyone naked on a computer!

But maybe our urge for privacy goes beyond titillation. Maybe there is a fundamental right to privacy that says no teacher, no coach, and no school can require any child to undress in front of anyone. When Mr. Tim Gusso required us fifth-grade boys at Washington Elementary to dress for P.E., jock strap and all, and take showers afterward, we dealt with our exposure as just something big kids do. But maybe we were being conditioned to surrender a fundamental liberty. Seriously, if Rep. Deutsch is worried about locker room privacy, he needs to outlaw shared locker rooms and demand that schools remodel their athletic facilities to provide separate dressing rooms, complete with locker and shower, for every athlete. He’ll have to amend his Student Privacy Act to ban shared bathrooms to protect young children from the embarrassment of having to unzip their pants in eyeshot or earshot of others. He’ll have to mandate schools go on a remodeling binge… and heck, there goes our teacher pay increase.

Perhaps we can squeeze some good out of Rep. Deutsch’s proposal. He is acknowledging that student privacy is important. If we embrace the principle of privacy, then we realize we need to leave transgender students alone. We have no business poking around in their pants; instead, we have an obligation to let them exercise their right to access the full spectrum of educational activities provided by their high schools. That includes allowing them to play sports with teammates of their sex, which is something they choose, not legislators.

And holy cow: if privacy matters for students, maybe Rep. Deutsch will realize it matters for women as well. The Student Privacy Act, properly amended to create individual dressing rooms for all students so no one ever sees anyone else naked, could lay the philosophical precedent for declaring that our state cannot strip women psychologically bare with mandatory propaganda sessions in front of hostile “counselors,” extended waiting periods, and other intrusions on their privacy when they seek an abortion.


  1. Jenny 2015-11-23

    There is just a creepiness about this GOP genitalia obsession. Something is very wrong when this is more important than rooting out rampant corruption.

    God, Guns, and Genitalia – the SD GOP.

  2. 96Tears 2015-11-23

    Fred Deutsch’s preoccupation with kiddie genitals hasn’t reached the Ted Klaudt level, but his reach here is absurd and provocative. Fred must be lonely up there at Florence. Makes me wonder what Fred does in his free time to imagine that there is a pressing need for a bill this obtuse. As a chiropractor, has Fred developed an insight that the rest of us lack?

  3. Lynn 2015-11-23

    Predictably this is getting blown out of proportion by all sides. The South Dakota High School Activities Association already has good guidelines in place and with it I want to stress that every situation is different with all parties involved.

    Using the guidelines in place let the local school teachers, administration, a mental health professional using the Harry Benjamin Standards, parents, clergy, physicians navigate what is best for the child and everyone involved to make it as smooth as possible.

    There will be parents of non-transgender kids that might be fearful based on their own reasons and this needs to be as respectful and non-threatening as possible.

    We need to help educate and work with our legislators like Rep. Deutsch. In the grand scheme of things this is temporary in the grand scheme of things. I gather that Rep. Deutsch is against legalizing an intoxicant which I feel is far more important, negatively far reaching and long term effects on social costs not only for the general public but for our vulnerable populations especially those that are transgender.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-23

    Jenny, I recommend “gonads” for full alliteration on the tripartite platform statement.

    We could use “genitalia” for another slogan: “GOP—Genital-Ogling Party.”

    Republican readers, if you find such sloganeering coarse, you have your own party leaders to blame. Get Deutsch, Hunt, et al. to focus on K-12 funding and the budget, and they would not invite such obloquy.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-23

    Lynn, as described by Deutsch, is the Student Privacy Act good and necessary policy?

  6. Lynn 2015-11-23

    Those that are transgender are at a very high risk of suicide, HIV infection, unemployment/underemployment, homelessness, being murdered, physically assaulted and substance abuse. I look forward to working with Rep Deutsch on this and especially the issue to prevent legalization of another intoxicant which is something South Dakotans and especially transgender community doesn’t need.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-23

    Ah, Lynn, so you’re avoiding my question and trolling for an unrelated fight?

    Let me ask the relevant question again: is the Student Privacy Act good and necessary policy?

  8. Porter Lansing 2015-11-23

    The Student Privacy Act is unnecessary policy. Promoting fear for personal political gain is highly unethical.

  9. Lynn 2015-11-23


    I’m not looking for an unrelated fight. The policy should be left as is by the South Dakota High School Activities Association which gives flexibility to best deal with the circumstances on a case by case basis in that district with all parties involved. There is no need for the bill proposed by Rep. Deutsch. The legislature should not use their valuable time and resources pursuing this further. Legally they will probably lose if challenged.

    They need to be educated to help minimize their fear because in reality the situation will be fairly non-eventful and probably positive.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-23

    Thank you for clarifying that we agree that Deutsch’s locker-room bill is unnecessary and distracts from important issues.

  11. Roger 2015-11-23

    gee, when my kid was in high school sports, the Florence locker rooms were so disgusting, no one took showers there anyway…..

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-23

    Roger, do any kids shower at school any more, regardless of the disgustingness of the locker rooms?

    Of course, if our public schools ran like European schools and didn’t sponsor sports, this wouldn’t even be an issue for the Legislature.

    A British study found that half of high school boys and two thirds of high school girls in Essex do not shower after PE.

  13. mike from iowa 2015-11-23

    Have you noticed that the PP videos aren’t being used by wingnuts anymore. Must have gotten all the political mileage out of the false narratives and now it is on to refugees or something else to divide the nation.

  14. Curt Jopling 2015-11-23

    Holy smokes! I looked at the photo and said this guy has to be a chiropractor. Google him and lo and behold he is. Scary.

  15. Spencer 2015-11-23

    Our schools need guidance on this issue. This bill meets that need. I have already seen counselor recommendations originating within the state that have referred schools to contact far-left transgendered campus groups to connect and network with middle school and high school students as soon as someone thinks they may be “questioning.” It would be great if liberals cared more about helping these kids rather than radicalizing them for shortsighted political gains. It is obvious that the Left is provoking these kids and using them to cause issues in bathrooms putting students at risk in order to make some silly political statement.

  16. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    South Dakota schools need guidance on every issue because they’re constantly being jerked around by an extremist red state legislature steered by nutballs like Fred Deutsch and Spencer Cody.

  17. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    It’s obvious that the Right is freaking nuts.

  18. jerry 2015-11-23

    Too funny Larry Kurtz, freaking nuts indeed.

  19. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    it’s important to remember that gender dysphoria and autism are induced by phthalates, chemicals and hormones endemic to South Dakota’s ag industry.

  20. larry kurtz 2015-11-23

    Powers asks, “what happened to the good Democrats?” while ignoring the fact that there are no good Republicans: self-reliance or moral hazard?

  21. Donald Pay 2015-11-23

    I’m posting this very moving news story about the suicide of a transgendered youth in hopes that some minds might be changed.

    That fact is legislation like this just adds to the reasons why transgendered youth commit suicide in strikingly high numbers. Scorn heaped down on these students by adults is driving these high suicide rates. We have had similar legislation introduced in Wisconsin, and there were a number of transgendered students who testified.

    The young person who committed suicide lived in our neighborhood and went to school and ran around with the children of friends or ours. The problem here was not the school or his classmates. The policies here are accepting of transgendered students, and similar to those of the SDHSAA. The problem were the adults in his life. These folks had attitudes like Deutsch. They learned too late to save their child, but our now active in helping defeat bill’s like Deutsch’s.

  22. Bree S. 2015-11-23

    So Larry declares that “gender dysphoria” is an unnatural state caused by environmental toxins.

    If we are arguing that transexuality is an induced rather than natural genetic state, why not a mental rather than physical causation? Surely mental abuse has a more direct affect on the psyche than chemical substances.

  23. Roger Cornelius 2015-11-23

    Why have these perverted republicans like Deutsch suddenly over the past several years made such an issue of transgender kids?
    It is most likely that transgender kids have been in South Dakota for as long as South has had schools. This isn’t a new topic, it is the same with gay and lesbian kids, we’ve had them around for awhile and the sky has not fallen.
    If Deutsch had any balls he would confront the serious problems of corruption in this state. He’s a coward and a bully!!

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-24

    Bree! Bree! Look out, fellas—now we’re in for it!

    We missed you.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-24

    Hang on, Spencer: are you saying school boards are unable to govern themselves? Would you say that school counselors need guidance if they contact far-right anti-trans groups to shame and humiliate students the moment they start “questioning” and to radicalize others against equality?

    Remember, Spencer, any time a claim begins with “It is obvious,” that’s a signal that the author doesn’t have any evidence to back up his claim.

  26. larry kurtz 2015-11-24

    This isn’t just a culture war; it’s a war on the whole of humanity being prosecuted by the Pfizers, the quacks and their red state handlers.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-24

    (By the way, we don’t need to cast aspersions on Rep. Deutsch personally or professionally to indict the bad policy he’s proposing.)

Comments are closed.