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Noem Recycles Transphobia and Girls Sports to Distract from Nepotism and Bigger Issues

Every young woman deserves an equal playing field…” Governor Kristi Noem tweeted yesterday, even as the Government Operations and Audit Committee heard testimony that she tilted the playing field to help her daughter get certified to appraise real estate. So with self-contradiction like that, we’re not even listening to the rest of what Kristi says, are we?

But, since Kristi is still Governor and can make policy, yes, we have to listen to her dreary rehash of the culture war that she hopes will defuse her nepotism scandal and stave off her conservative primary challenger. Thus, after hooting about school prayer on Monday, Noem yesterday tried to distract us by proposing to revive the anti-transgender sports policy that she clumsily vetoed last spring.

Governor Kristi Noem is revealing draft legislation. She says her bill ensures “fairness in girls’ sports.”

The legislation says sports at schools and universities must be designated as female, male or co-ed. It says only female athletes can participate in female sports. And it says an athlete’s biological sex is the sex listed on the athlete’s original birth certificate.

Lawmakers passed similar legislation last year, but Noem issued a partial veto and the bill died. She said some sections of the bill were legally problematic. Noem says her new legislation does not contain those problematic sections [staff, “Noem Proposes ‘Fairness in Girls’ Sports’, ACLU Says She’s Targeting Transgender Athletes,” SDPB, 2021.12.14].

Good grief: does Noem want to spend the entire election year in court? Cue the ACLU, which notes that, as usual, Noem is tromping on Constitutional rights:

The draft legislation violates both the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which protects all students – including those who are transgender – from discrimination based on sex.

This proposed legislation is clearly fueled by a fear and misunderstanding of transgender people in our state. The Governor claims she wants to “promote fairness in women’s sports,” but if that were true, she’d tackle the actual threats to women’s sports such as severe underfunding, lack of media coverage, sexist ideologies that suggest that women and girls are weak, and pay equity for coaches. Bills like this that seek to ban trans women and girls from participation in athletics are based on inaccurate stereotypes about biology, athleticism and gender and are not in line with South Dakota values [Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota, press release, 2021.12.14].

…not to mention using the culture war to distract us from her failure to resolve real policy problems affecting all South Dakotans:

If Noem’s proposed legislation is any indication of what’s to come during the 2022 legislative session, discriminatory rhetoric will again take precedence over issues that South Dakotans really care about.

With serious issues like education funding and tenuous state-tribal relations, it’s disturbing that we keep coming back to the same discriminatory issues year after year.

Nobody wins when politicians try to meddle in people’s lives like this. Nobody wins when we try to codify discrimination like this. Legislation like Noem’s proposed bill has been discussed and defeated before. It’s time to move on [Jonelis/ACLU, 2021.12.14].

Get off kids’ cases, Kristi. There are no documented instances of transgender athletes causing anyone any grief in South Dakota. The only unfairness afoot is coming from you, Governor, and your culture-warrior party. Knock it off and do your job.


  1. larry kurtz 2021-12-15 07:49

    I have been chronicling gender bending chemicals in the environment for three decades and have learned gender dysphoria is comorbid with chemical giants, medical industry oligopolies, polluted waterways, subsidized agriculture, absence of medical insurance, cancer and Republican legislatures on the dole.

    Aluminum, propylene glycol (steareths), Triclosan, parabens and phthalates are endocrine disruptors that wreak havoc in children and adolescents. Tampons, menstrual pads and even some sunscreens contain gender bending endocrine disruptors. Phthalate-laden bottled water alone makes up 1.5 million tons of plastic each year.

    About 1 in a 1000 babies are born with ambiguous genitalia or intersex. South Dakota Republicans are attacking kids and don’t want schools to even talk about the causes of gender dysphoria. Why? Because their campaign dollars come from white christianists like the hate group known as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the very industries that manufacture the products causing it. ADF is representing the Diocese of Sioux Falls in an anti-vax lawsuit, too.

  2. Nix 2021-12-15 08:05

    Jeff Bezos,
    If you don’t relocate your Amazon grand
    experiment from Sioux Falls to a more
    LBGTQ friendly environment, you are a damn hypocrite.

    You are either in or out.
    No other options are available.

  3. Donald Pay 2021-12-15 08:20

    Kurtz points out the real problem. Endocrine disruptors have been pumped into the environment for decades with little regulation, causing all sorts of issues, including affecting the brain development in a way that has been demonstrated to lead to greater incidence of transgender outcomes. Noem doesn’t want to deal with the poisoning of fetal life, because that would hit too closely to her campaign donors.

  4. Bill 2021-12-15 08:44

    What is so sad about this wrangling over transgender issues and fairness in sports is that it keeps us from attending to so many other issues confronting South Dakota! I could write a long list, but you all know them; decreasing poverty, eliminating homelessness, improving education, improving infrastructure and on and on. Republicans have no policies and push an agenda of distraction. They have become even more consistent as their policies now appear to be simply, “No government other than restrictions on personal behavior and enforcement upon law breakers.” Notice how quickly that is dumped once there is in a life-time storm razing cities to the ground. When that happens, even Kentucky Republicans want the federal government to act.

  5. SuFuMatt 2021-12-15 08:55

    Oozing with big government.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-15 12:34

    well…let the High School Activities Association handle this so called issue…they know what they are doing and are sensitive to the needs of kids. The 06% raise Noem proposes for state employees might be called part of the Bren settlement. She needs to mend fences with state employees or they will leak all over her.

  7. Eve Fisher 2021-12-15 12:40

    Larry, you’re absolutely right about the number of babies born with indeterminate genitalia. I’ve mentioned this before on Cory’s blog, but , I used to work for Medical Genetics at Emory University, in Atlanta, where my primary job was to process the results of genetic testing on babies to determine their sex. In other words, when these babies were born, neither the doctors, nurses, or parents could tell what sex they were, because some parts were too small, some too big, and/or some were nonexistent. There were a lot more of these than you might think – this was my full time job doing this. And there have been many times when a baby was born, and everyone assigned that baby a gender – and it turned out to be wrong. Nature can be highly ambiguous. There’s a famous (in genetic circles) family in which every single baby was born a girl; raised as a girl; dressed, etc., as a girl; and then, in puberty, each and every one of them turned into a boy. Nature is very, very weird.
    So, I especially get furious when Noem and other politicians want to make law that “an athlete’s biological sex is the sex listed on the athlete’s original birth certificate”, because those are frequently wrong.

  8. Mark Anderson 2021-12-15 13:06

    You know there are no Grey’s in a trumpies life, so why bother. When my son caught me watching a black and white movie when he was reeaally little he asked me about it and I told him that it was made before color was invented in the world. This was before Calvin and Hobbes did that. Everything is black and white to a true trumpie. Soon they will start saying which jobs men and women will get. I would list them but again why bother, you all know exactly which jobs I mean. Barefoot and pregnant will be the charge. Women need protection you know, and no expensive shoes.

  9. O 2021-12-15 14:02

    I thought Governor Noem vetoed this last session. Did the NCAA send an OK this year? Has culture war been allowed to overtake “open for business” on the priority list? So the new hierarchy goes: lives; economic priority; culture war. Has SD become self-actualized in some kind of Maslow upside-down universe?

  10. larry kurtz 2021-12-15 14:13

    That Republicans have abandoned science to embrace myth is no accident, Eve Fisher. Ideologues have seized the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of the extreme white wing of the Republican Party because they want to blow it all up while praying for a supernatural extraterrestrial who would abolish the United Nations.

    Remember when John Thune and his buddies went to Moscow during the Fourth of July? They were given an ultimatum to support Donald Trump at any cost or face kompramat that would destroy their lives.

  11. John 2021-12-15 15:18

    1. NOem again shows, via this hateful proposal, her couched “moment of silence” nonsense”, and others – that she has NO vision for South Dakota. No vision of the future of the state, for the people, and for the people’s economy other than setting up a religious, fascist theocracy.

    2. Hopefully the NCAA will snap to their senses and bar SD schools from conferences and other NCAA schools from playing SD schools.

  12. Porter Lansing 2021-12-15 15:40

    An athlete’s biological sex is the sex listed on the athlete’s original birth certificate? In that case, “We are all Spartacus!”

  13. DaveFN 2021-12-16 18:06

    Readers would do well to distinguish between (1) individuals born with ambiguous genitalia and (2) individuals who feel they have been born into the “wrong” body but who show no chromosomal “abnormalities,” for example. The first is inextricably imbricated with genetics (I won’t say “caused by” despite the increasingly simplistic and widespread western notion that “everything has a biochemical/chemical cause”) while the second cannot reasonably be ascribed to a genetic/chemical cause/correlation.

    Regarding the mistaken notion of genetic causation as being at all applicable in the second category, “Phenomenology shares with psychoanalysis the view that explanation is inadequate to the task of understanding what is given to experience and shares with psychoanalytic treatment the task of determining the nature of suffering in a manner that does not objectify or categorize the sufferer. In other words, instead of posing the scientific question of what causes one to be this way or that, the phenomenologist asks, “What does it mean that I experience the world this way or that?” Once the meaning-question is substituted for that of causation one enters the realm of phenomenology, because in raising this question one accepts the inherent mystery of our existence, the puzzle of which has never been solved and is not likely to be. This feature of phenomenology (that the object of experience can never be decisively separated from the subject who experiences it) is both intentional and intersubjective, because my experience of the other person must remain unremittingly mine, with all its attendant ambiguity and baggage.” —M. Guy Thompson

  14. larry kurtz 2021-12-16 19:03

    I am not convinced that a person’s sexual preference or gender identity is determined at conception or at birth. I have lived with or near more LGBTQ people than many have and every story is different: from hatred of a parent to exposure to hormone-producing environmental contaminants and even the lack of circumcision. Women bullied or abused by men for most of their lives or men growing up with a cold or absent father have been reasons given for personal choices.

    I began life left-handed but my father switched me because of his experience in the military was geared for the right-handed; and, although I’ve never had sexual contact with another man so far in 67 years there was a time when androgyny seemed right for me.

  15. grudznick 2021-12-16 19:43

    Like my good friend Lar, grudznick is also not convinced. I ignore the left-handed business, as I spent a number of years as a left-handed fellow and don’t think any of that crap is meaningful. Use your hand and grab your stuff, that’s what my old friend Lar would say, but left or right, it doesn’t really bear on the issue at hand in this blogging.

    The issue, left or right, right or left handed, is that grudznick and Lar are lockstep on this and will testify in the legislatures together about this. Lar can bring the doobie patrol, and grudznick will bring the Conservatives with Common Sense, and we will crush out those Howites who are insaner than most.

  16. larry kurtz 2021-12-16 19:59

    Clezmer, by any other name, is still just noise.

  17. grudznick 2021-12-16 20:03

    Well, the general sense of music by klezmer is a pleasant thing, when one is eating a gravy-laden dinner. I mean, it is only noise if you have a weak enough mind to let it enter your earholes. Otherwise, it is dandy dinner music.

  18. larry kurtz 2021-12-16 20:22

    My error, Qlezmer in grud’s case.

  19. grudznick 2021-12-16 20:27

    Thanks Lar. Apology not necessary.

  20. grudznick 2021-12-16 20:29

    But sure appreciated. I’ve already had a few phone calls about it, and it just tickles ol’ grudznick’s tummy to hear from some of these old fellows.

    I thought some were dead.

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