South Dakota Passes Bill To Ban Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

by : Julia Banim on : 09 Mar 2021 17:09
South Dakota Passes Bill To Ban Transgender Athletes From Women's SportsPA Images/ABC News

South Dakota has passed a bill that will ban transgender girls and women from joining sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.

The South Dakota Senate has voted 20-15 in favour of the HB1217 bill on Monday, March 8. It is now headed to the desk of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who has said she is ‘excited’ to sign it.


Whether or not this bill will ultimately takes permanent effect in South Dakota will most likely be decided in federal court.

Upon learning that ‘the Women’s Fairness in Sports bill’ had been passed, Noem tweeted:

In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon.


However, this bill has sparked concern among various human rights organisations, with Human Rights Campaign giving the following response to Noem’s tweet:

Trans girls and their families are your constituents. You are using your power to exclude kids and make them feel less than, and that is nothing to be proud of.

This new measure would requires participants of athletics teams to submit documentation to state authorities that would identify their birth sex as well as a clean slate of drug test results.


Opponents of this measure, which supporters argue is intended to uphold Title IX gender protection in sports, have noted that it is patently discriminatory against transgender girls and women.

Furthermore, as reported by The Grand Forks Herald, just one transgender woman in South Dakota has actually competed in women’s athletics in the past decade, and it’s said that she ‘did not dominate the athletics season’, according to Senator VJ Smith.

This bill has been passed despite strong evidence to suggest that trans athletes possess no physiological advantages over their cis teammates, with Human Rights Campaign Mississippi State Director Rob Hill telling CNN:

All this bill does is put transgender youth at risk of bullying, exclusion, and increased danger while discrimination and violence against transgender people is at a record high in this country.

If legislators would simply listen to medical experts and transgender athletes, they might know that transitioning for the sake of competitive advantage is simply unrealistic. So is the idea that transgender athletes even gain a supposed advantage in the first place.


This latest development comes a week after the Mississippi House passed a bill to ban transgender athletes from playing in girl’s or women’s sports teams.

As reported by the Associated Press, more than 20 US states have proposed restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming healthcare for transgender minors this year alone.

In almost every single one of these cases, sponsors have been unable cite even one instance in their own state or region where transgender women participating in female teams has led to problems.


If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Now, Sport, transgender


Associated Press and 4 others
  1. Associated Press

    Lawmakers can’t cite local examples of trans girls in sports

  2. Human Rights Campaign/Twitter


  3. Governor Kristi Noem/Twitter


  4. Grand Forks Herald

    South Dakota set to ban transgender students from girls' sports; Noem plans to sign bill

  5. CNN

    Mississippi Senate votes to ban transgender athletes from women's sports