“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.