By Associated Press - Thursday, February 25, 2021

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota House has passed legislation that prohibits transgender girls from participating in female sports at public schools.

The bill’s prime sponsor, Republican Rep. Rhonda Milstead, argued that transgender girls have an unfair advantage in female sports. The bill means female sports would only be available to participants who are female based on their biological gender at birth.

Opponents of the bill include the American Civil Liberties Union which said the bill is unconstitutional.

“House Bill 1217 is not about protecting fairness in women’s sports. If it were, then it would tackle the actual threats to women’s sports, such as severe underfunding, lack of media coverage, sexist ideologies that suggest that women and girls are weak, and pay equity for coaches,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager.

Each school year, before students can participate in team sports, they would need to submit statements verifying their age, biological sex and that they haven’t taken any steroids in the 12 months preceding competition, the Argus Leader reported. The statement must be signed by a parent if they are under 18.



The bill passed the House Wednesday on a 50-17 vote and was sent to a Senate committee.

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