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Governor Noem defends Title IX, NCAA transgender sports

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 6:43 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -Today, South Dakota State Governor Kristi Noem spoke about a federal civil rights law, called Title IX, that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other educational program that receives federal money as it reflects on transgender sports.

“We need to defend Title IX,” Governor Noem says. “The legal framework that gives women the opportunity to succeed and thrive in sports.”

Tensions have arisen because the NCAA has enacted policies that allow transgender athletes the ability to play in sporting events that match their gender identity as long as they meet certain criteria related to hormone therapy.

Governor Noem fundamentally disagrees with the NCAA’s decisions and is asking other states to join her outlook and sign a coalition that combats the institutions transgender policy.

“Here’s the pledge that I’m asking all of the partners in this coalition to sign, ‘the undersign agree that Title IX needs to be protected, and that we commit to working together to keep fairness in women’s sports,’” Noem implores. “We believe that only girls should play girls’ sports.”

Hesitations in the transgender community stem from people like Jett Jonelis, the ACLU of South Dakota Advocacy Manager.

“Transgender girls are often told that they are not girls based on inaccurate stereotypes about biology, athleticism and gender,” says Jonelis. “Trans girls are girls – period. This is an attempt to erase transgender people from society.”

Madison Sheahan, a woman who was a part of the rowing team for Ohio State University and was invited to speak alongside the Governor, believes that allowing transgender athletes to participate in female sports leads to lost opportunities and chances for women.

“I want every woman and every girl in the United States and in the great state of South Dakota to have the ability to play just like I did,” says Sheahan. “It’s helped me in my career, allowed me to learn qualities like hard work, dedication and being a part of a team.”

The controversies surrounding transgender athletes continue as more policies are crafted to accommodate the community.

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