February 24, 2016

TLDEF Urges South Dakota Governor to Veto Bill Targeting Transgender Students for Discrimination

New York, NY - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) urges South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard to veto a bill that would bar transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that match who they are as boys and girls. South Dakota lawmakers passed House Bill 1008 last week. The bill restricts facility access to students of the “same biological sex,” and defines that to mean “the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person's chromosomes and identified at birth by a person's anatomy.”

The governor now has until March 1st to sign, veto, or allow the bill to become law without his signature. If enacted, it would be the first law of its kind in the nation singling out transgender students for discrimination. Yesterday the governor met face-to-face with transgender students who explained how harmful this bill would be to their health and well being. They, along with thousands of activists across the country, continue to urge Governor Daugaard to reject this harmful legislation.

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“We urge Governor Daugaard to veto this bill. It paints a bullseye on the backs of transgender students in South Dakota who will be the only kids in school forced to use bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match who they are as boys and girls. Transgender young people already face extraordinarily high rates of bullying in school, and this bill will make them targets for further harassment. This bill is an assault on their safety and must be stopped.

“The legislation also violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools. We are encouraged that the Governor met with transgender students and listened to their concerns. We hope he takes their words to heart as he considers this bill. We urge him to stand on the side of fairness and ensure transgender students are protected in schools. The Governor should not allow his state to be the first in the nation to mandate discrimination against transgender students. South Dakota must stand on the side of justice.”