South Dakota testimony for transgender sports bill ‘very hurtful,’ advocate says

House Bill 1217 would require South Dakota students to provide age, sex before playing sports
Vice President of the Black Hills Center for Equality.
Vice President of the Black Hills Center for Equality.(Connor Matteson)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 5:52 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The South Dakota House State Affairs Committee advanced a controversial bill that would ban transgender women and girls from competing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.

In an 11 -2 vote on Monday, House Bill 1217 passed through committee and is now headed to the House floor.

If passed, before a student can join a team, they would have to provide a written statement on their age, biological sex and confirmation they don’t use performance-enhancing drugs. If any of this information is considered to be “misleading,” the student would not be able to participate in any sport or athletic team for the rest of the school year.

”Sports must be segregated by a biological characteristic of the body for competition to be fair and for females to safely compete,” Rep. Rhonda Milstead (R-Hartford). “If the participation of males in female sports continues there will no longer be female sports, there will only be male and CO-ED and with that girls will without a doubt lose the strides they have made and the successes they have built because of the self-discipline, perseverance, and confidence that athletics have given them.”

READ: House Bill 1217 An act to promote continued fairness in women’s sports.

Vice President of the Black Hills Center for Equality Toni Diamond says this bill only affects a small group of people and is simply unnecessary.

Diamond says sports help young people, by building friendships and teaching teamwork potentially leading to scholarship opportunities, which Diamond says will be missed if this bill passes.

Diamond was in Pierre Monday along with many other organizations, listening to testimony, and felt like many of the bill’s sponsors struck a hurtful tone.

”Being in Pierre yesterday, I would have to say, was a very emotional time,” Diamond said. “There is a lot of I would say, lack of understanding and awareness and so because of that it came across as hateful and some of the speeches that we’re given and testimony that was given was very hurtful. I mean I walked out of the committee meeting last night and was just personally felt like I was attacked.”

House Bill 1217 must pass through the House by Thursday in order to be heard by the state Senate, or else it will be moved to the 41st day, effectively killing it.

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