Press "Enter" to skip to content

Boycott Threat Fades, Business Allies Back Away from Transgender Cause

I want to read Equality South Dakota’s reflection on the 2022 Legislative Session and believe their claim of “success“:

This year more than ever, people showed up. Our 2022 Visibility and Advocacy Day, formerly known as Lobby Day, was the most successful to date with over 100 people visiting the capitol to meet with their lawmakers one-on-one.

In addition to our event’s success, we saw thousands of people from across the state make phone calls and send letters to their legislators asking them to oppose bills which aim to harm trans kids and their families. While Senate Bill 46 was eventually signed into law, it is important for us to know that this did not go down without a fight.

With the power of our community that took action, some for the first time, we close the 2022 South Dakota Legislative Session knowing the best days are ahead of us. The future of equality in South Dakota is bright [“Equality South Dakota Reflects on the 2022 Legislative Session,” EqSD, 2022.03.31].

But the sad fact is that the future looks darker for transgender rights in South Dakota and elsewhere, as the Legislature passed a transgender athlete ban after failing to do so in previous Sessions, and as the controversy over transgender female Lia Thomas‘s NCAA swimming victories drove key business allies away from opposing such discrimination:

“It struck a chord,” said lawyer and lobbyist Dave Zimbeck, who represents the Sioux Falls Sports Authority, one of several organizations that publicly opposed transgender sports legislation in 2021 but which stayed out of the fray this year. The group’s strategy changed due to shifting public sentiment and the belief that the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which stages championship events in South Dakota, no longer plans to pull events from states that pass transgender legislation.

“Lia Thomas came along and Fox News and other outlets made her the poster child for their cause,” said Zimbeck, whose organization works to lure sporting events to Sioux Falls in conjunction with First Premier Bank and Sanford Health. “A lot of people who were in the middle on this issue saw the physical stature of (Thomas) and her success and had trouble getting past that. We made the decision that there was a lot of futility in jumping in and taking a big stand, that this thing was on a fast track to approval.”

…Organizations such as the South Dakota Board of Regents, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and Visit Rapid City also remained neutral this year after previously working to defeat transgender sports bans. In 2021, these groups played a role in Noem refusing to sign House Bill 1217 despite the Republican governor earlier declaring support for the measure, a reversal that drew heat from far-right conservatives in South Dakota and nationally.

At this year’s session in Pierre, when Noem brought her own bill and touted it as protecting fairness in female sports, she encountered less resistance [Stu Whitney, “National Political Winds Blew Away Some Opposition to S.D. Transgender Athlete Ban,” South Dakota News Watch, 2022.03.29].

When one’s strongest allies abandon the cause and South Dakota joins twelve other states in locking kids into the gender identity indicated by their birth certificate, it’s hard to say we are succeeding in building a brighter future for transgender rights.

Related Reading:


  1. jerry 2022-04-04 06:45

    In my opinion, transgender should not be allowed to compete, why would they want? These two individuals mentioned, are clearly out of their league of gender like competitors.

    They could be allowed to compete in an open arena of sports events that are not gender affiliated. Kinda like rodeo. If you want to shoot the bull and ride the bull, just do it. Looking for 8 when they pull that gate and hope that judge ain’t blind. Go from bull riding to goat tying, all in the series of events. Show ol’ Ma NOem how to ride that pony.

    Russia and East Germany had many “female” competitors during the old Olympic games that looked like they were pretty husky.

  2. Richard Schriever 2022-04-04 09:20

    Perhaps an additional gender(non-binary)-based category of competition could be added. Let’s not just let our own conditioned gender stereotyping cause us to fall into the entire black/white, binary restrictions that are being furthered here at all.

  3. sx123 2022-04-04 09:23

    Humans are slightly sexually dimorphic, and the fairness problem (a physics problem) can probably be fixed by eliminating boys/girls sports and making them combined, where combined tryouts determine who is on varsity, jv, etc. Unfair matches in sports are boring…

    But, combined sports leads to a locker room problem since most schools have 2 locker rooms, one for the home team and one for the visitors. This situation would need to be fixed due to having mixed genders per locker room, and most parents and students would be uncomfortable.

    Testosterone (anabolic steroid produced by the body) is for sure performance enhancing (with exercise!) as it promotes muscle growth. This is an indisputable fact. In general, boys/men produce more testosterone than girls/women, and therein lies the physics problem.

  4. bearcreekbat 2022-04-04 10:10

    Anyone else remember the days when the US had “negro leagues” in baseball and other sports for players that weren’t quite white enough to play in the regular leagues? A “transgender league” or legislating that “transgender women” aren’t women enough to play in “women’s leagues” seems quite similar.

    And the idea that it might be “unfair” to permit a “transgender woman” to compete because she is stonger or or more skillfull than other competitors seems absurd as the whole point of competition is to determine the most skillful competitor. If size matters, such as in boxing or wrestling, then weight classes applied equally to all competitors would work much better than simply excluding someone because of some genetic characteristic. Regardless of who is excluded there will always be some stronger and more powerful competitors and some weaker ones that won’t have a chance for finishing on top.

    Finally, the idea that an individual will willingly go through whatever it takes to change their sexual identity to achieve success in high school or college sports seems a stretch. It would be a rare individual that might value a sports trophy or two over the gender identity that defines him or her.

  5. All Mammal 2022-04-04 10:13

    Another anatomical disparagement would be the whole chest area of a man is packed with pectoral muscles whereas a woman’s is all mammary gland . Uh! No fair. I’m sure there might be a few days per month a woman’s testosteronies surpass man’s flat plateau level. That’s always a lot of fun. Not.
    Keep an eye on the scouts recruiting Dominicanos to play in youth baseball. They might conjure up some transgender athlete scams for their own benefit like they have with counterfeit birth certificates in the past.

  6. jerry 2022-04-04 10:19

    How about math competition, or science projects? Why do we need these expensive sports arenas anyway, they waste resources. Hey, farmers in Arizona are now losing their water rights because of drought.

    Have trans, heterosexuals’ and all of the rest, compete to find solutions to this situation rather than just taking Indian water. Let the best non-binary individual win the prize..booyah

  7. O 2022-04-04 10:35

    My concern is that more thought has been out into “fairness” in sports by our culture war GOP than into fairness in elections.

  8. bearcreekbat 2022-04-04 11:09

    Maybe the SD legislature will adopt a new state song. With apologies to Tammy Wynette, perhaps something like this:

    G C D
    You call to tell me something
    You say you want say
    That you really want to join the team
    And you want to play
    You say you’re gonna try out
    Oh but that’ll make me scream
    D G
    Because you ain’t woman enough to join my team


    Women like you, they’re hardly ever around
    C G
    You just can’t hardly find ‘em anywhere
    For you to get to play I’d have to move over
    And I’m gonna stand right here
    Well it’ll be over my dead body
    So get out before I scream
    D G
    ‘Cause you ain’t woman enough to join my team


    G C
    Sometimes a coach goes lookin’ at things that he don’t need
    He’d take a second look at you
    But South Dakota says he can only consider me
    Well I don’t know where they leave you
    Oh but I know just what it means
    D G
    And you ain’t woman enough to join my team


    Women like you, they’re hardly ever around
    C G
    You just can’t hardly find ‘em anywhere
    For you to get to play I’d have to move over
    And I’m gonna stand right here
    Well it’ll be over my dead body
    So get out before I scream
    D G
    ‘Cause you ain’t woman enough to join my team
    C D G C G
    Oh you ain’t woman enough to join my team

  9. bearcreekbat 2022-04-04 11:35

    Incidently, there is a place for transgender athletes outside of this sad State. Check out 5’9″, 159 pound Layshia Clarendon’s background, apparently being permitted to play in high school and college before being drafted by WNBA. Just think how South Dakota legislators would have harpooned her potential and damaged her future and her life if they had been in charge where she grew up.,to%20complete%20a%20top%20surgery.

  10. Edwin Arndt 2022-04-04 11:48

    Some boys think they’re girls, some girls think they’re boys,
    and according to this morning’s paper, some kids think
    they’re cats. Furries. Google it.
    What next?

  11. cibvet 2022-04-04 12:25

    Edwin Arndt asks “what next? FOXES. Definition of foxes– people who watch fox tv and become so infatuated
    with the short skirts, cliches and empty platitudes that they no longer have any empathy, compassion or any original
    thoughts, but instead repeat drivel from fox tv.

  12. mike from iowa 2022-04-04 12:42

    Mothers are freaking out about “furries” and freaking out school administrators with their freak outs. Kids were putting litter boxes in bathrooms for them.

  13. O 2022-04-04 12:49

    The MAGA/Right/GOP will not miss the opportunity to sensationalize and magnify a freak out for political gain. When a party has devolved into social media performance only, this nonsense is elevated to national issue. Meanwhile actual governance and issues are bruised aside. Why take income disparity, taxation, immigration, education, discrimination, gun violence, pollution . . . not when there is a report that a litterbox has been found in a school; not when someone who does not look like you might get an opportunity you enjoy.

  14. Edwin Arndt 2022-04-04 13:02

    The article I read said nothing about republicans or democrats.
    I do think that short skirts look better on girls that
    think they are girls.
    I have not contemplated how Tucker Carlson would look
    wearing a short skirt.

  15. jerry 2022-04-04 14:16

    Mr. Arndt, you got played man. I always wondered who in South Dakota could be so lame as to believe that nonsense about kids having to use a litterbox. I have a bridge for sale, slightly used and in good repair. Send cash, no checks and I will release this great deal if you act quickly. Remember, no checks. Hurry to the bank to make the withdrawal, but don’t tell anyone about this deal.

  16. Edwin Arndt 2022-04-04 15:04

    Yes yes, Jerry, act now, don’t delay.

  17. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-04 16:32

    The NCAA, Sanford Health, and First Premier Bank, as well as those businesses associated with Visit Rapid City, will be boycotted in Kadoka, and won’t even notice.

  18. Donald Pay 2022-04-04 17:24

    Sometimes the business community can seem to be a force for good. That doesn’t come, usually, from some special font of empathy for the downtrodden or the outcast. It is was, we would have a fair tax system. Generally when business lobbies come around to supporting doing good, it is because empathy can be monetized or when some costs can be minimized. For example, when the homeless in my community were threatening, just by their presence, to upset the further gentrification of State Street in Madison, WI, the business community began to think of ways to deal with and try to solve the issue of homelessness. In the case of business support for transgendered folks in Sioux Falls, business empathy lasted as long as the threat of boycotts by the NCAA. Now in my community, we have a lot of LGBTQ business folks and politicians who decide on TIF districts and liquor licences, so there is a little more ability here to make the business community stick to its monetized empathy. The key is to have some folks on the inside, as well as some on the outside pushing harder.

  19. Mark Anderson 2022-04-04 19:30

    Yes of course, all those South Dakota girls need protection in sports. Just ask the Baylor women or the UCLA women. How many trans in sports in So Dak. Name one please? Its all about Whooping up the base and hate always works with Republicans.
    It all goes way back to a certain trans doctor who played professional tennis, Renee Richard’s. She did make the third round of the US Open once. She played for four years and Chris Evert was so worried that she speculated that some of the lesser men players might undergo the knife to play on the women’s side Really, that’s no joke. This was 1977, that didn’t happen folks. Even Edwin Arndt wouldn’t do that, would he?

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-04 19:57

    Bearcreekbat’s reminder of the Negro Leagues gets me thinking… sports should be trivial enough that government should waste as little of its time exerting its might in setting rules of any games. Leave that to the sports leagues and, if they insist on continuing to waste resources on sport, our public schools and universities.

    But government has to perform some nominal role in preventing rank discrimination in sport. The questions are (1) can we claim a civil right or a fundamental human right to play competitive sports? Do I have a right to run in a 10K race and compete against people of like physiological characteristics? and (2) does sport differ from other activities in a way that allows for discrimination based on observable physiological characteristics? At what point can you tell a kid, “You’re too big/strong/fast to play with the other kids”?

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-04-04 20:00

    Thinking about what Don said… we can’t trust business to be a moral partner. We can look for their support when adopting our position promises to increase profits. We have to seek other allies and other arguments when the market swings against the moral position, because business generally picks money over morals.

  22. All Mammal 2022-04-04 20:55

    Lance Armstrong had his Tour de France wins annulled for enhancing his performance and baseball players in the bigs had the highest court of the land hung up on fairness in the MLB over enhancing their physical abilities beyond hard work and natural talent, but girls are told to hush up and play with the pectoral-laden broads and go along with being stripped of our title ix progress. Makes me wonder if such blasé reactions would emanate if a 14 year old with special needs were to get to play dodgeball with your 8 year old. Same developmental levels. Both wanting to win and its just a game.

    Women had to fight just to get to have the same opportunities as boys in athletics. Its just a game. One that can pay your way to an Ivy League education, enable you to build a priceless social network, expand possibilities based on hard work and dedication, and empower those who come after. Only trivial when women clutch to them. It is still cheating to juice before competing. Even though you only play better than your best on the juice. It is about who is the best within the parameters in order to keep the sport’s integrity. Otherwise, we will be back to scrounging for the baser sex to throw us a bone and let us get a scholarship or coaching gig. So if you feel like women should acquiesce our potential avenues to success and equality, let your kid play contact physical sports against my friend, Reuben. He’s just big for his age.

  23. O 2022-04-05 09:54

    All Mammal, the one element I would parse in your argument is: intent to gain an unfair benefit. For Armstrong and the juiced baseball players, the actions they took were ONLY fo get a benefit in their sport. Transgender women are not transitioning for the reason to gain an athletic edge over a new competitive group. It is wrong to frame this argument as intentional cheating.

  24. CK 2022-04-05 09:55

    Edwin: The only reason why there is kitty litter in a classroom is in case of a school shooting or a kid puking. Whatever “news source” or politician told you otherwise, I suggest you disregard them.

    Everyone else: Gender is a societal/cultural construct. Not every society and culture maintains the rigid confines of only two genders. Many Native American cultures acknowledge and actually celebrate two-spirit people.
    There is plenty of historical evidence that proves that transgender is nothing new.

  25. All Mammal 2022-04-05 12:44

    I find it advantageous for Ms. Thomas’ switch from swimming for Penn State’s male team to the college’s female team. While swimming for the male team for several years, she didn’t come close to winning a title. After switching teams, she is a hit. I feel torn about excluding anybody because I have winkte friends I treasure and would fight anyone who treated them unfairly or poorly because of who they are. However, not all winktes are effeminate flowers and I would bet not many men would go toe to be rouged toe with Deja. And the extremes some men have gone to to have their sponsored athlete get a chance at the prestigious clubs and scholarships is unbelievable. Collegiate athletics is a billion dollar industry, that urges unscrupulous opportunists to exploit young people. No matter how much god given talent a girl has and no matter how hard she works, she won’t be able to beat Lia Thomas at arm wrestling, or have wide enough shoulders to become a more powerful swimmer than her. Physiology and anatomy of men and women are not equal. I won’t play the net in a fun volleyball game when my little 6’5 brother gets set for a spike after he nearly broke my face the last time. I understand that my ladies want to be treated equally. I want to help so nobody loses. But in the meantime, what do we tell a blind person who wants to become your heart surgeon? We are still marching in the streets to insist black lives matter. Women are still turning up in fields. Kids are mistreated and their abusers don’t do a night in jail. And transgenders get the headlines because unfairness in sports. When women and kids and LGBTQ can’t catch a break this day and age, there is a problem coming from the top. The old establishment needs to go. Instead of working hard to get to be accepted into it, we need to establish our own, not starting with human rights, but based on the good Earth’s rights. A quote I heard on PBS’s mini docuseries, ‘Standing On Sacred Ground’ went something like, “Human rights are great and all but they’re meaningless when water doesn’t have the right to flow. Flow cleanly. Without nature’s rights, human rights don’t exist.”
    I appreciate the points of view offered on here and they sure have impacted my not fully formed, piddly opinion. However, O, I would not put it past aholes like Putin to forcefully transition athletes for the benefit of winning gold metals or people like him exploiting young people for wins. For many, sports are seen as the only way out of poverty.
    Once the good Earth is healthy and respected, her numerous little water-bag antennae (us) will finally know homeostasis and this stuff won’t even be considered. Until then, we will continue to transmit her distress signal.

  26. Dicta 2022-04-05 12:47

    Is “All Mammal” a reference to Da Rockwilder by Method Man and Redman?

  27. All Mammal 2022-04-05 20:51

    My Dicta, my Dicta. ‘Does Pinocchio have wooden balls, man?’

  28. Dicta 2022-04-05 21:04

    I appreciate you.

  29. mike from iowa 2022-04-22 09:44

    POS magat from Michigan (redundant, I know) sends out notices to parents telling them their children’s gender assignment surgery is scheduled….

    A Michigan state lawmaker who is running for Congress is reportedly sending out texts that read: “CONFIRMED, your child’s gender reassignment surgery has been booked.”

    “If you have any issues with this operation, please view the objectives of Biden’s National Transgender Strategy here,” the texts also state, according to a screenshot, with a link to a Republican fundraising site.

    magats have surpassed the lowest depths of dirty politicking and have to be held accountable by voters. You can’t trust magat appointed justices to protect to your rights and your kids.

  30. e platypus onion 2023-02-05 14:28

    Another perfect example of magat’s idea of smaller, less intrusive gubmint brought to you courtesy of America’s rendition of Joseph Stalin…

    De Satanist wants the guv to track female athletes menstrual cycles. “Excuse me. Miss, I am a magat and would like to go home with you for sex” . “Sorry, magat, I have my menstrual cycle.” “Quite alright, Miss. I will just follow you home on my Honda.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.