On Tuesday, the South Dakota state senate passed HB 1008 in a 15-2o vote, a bill that makes it illegal for a transgender person to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. The bill is now waiting for the signature of Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who has some weird(bigoted) ideas about what he needs to know before making his final decision.
While the language of the bill does not specifically mention transgender people, it reads:
Every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school that is designated for student use and is accessible by multiple students at the same time shall be designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex.
And “biological sex” means your assigned gender, essentially:
The term, biological sex, as used in this Act, means the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth.
The rhetoric around the bill is about as delusional and pearl-clutching as you’d expect. BuzzFeed News quoted Sen. Brock Greenfield, for example, as saying, “Do you feel it appropriate for a 13-year-old girl to be exposed to the anatomy of a boy?” Wow, there have been a lot of changes in how high school girls feel about toilet stall privacy since I was that age!
Aside from being fucked up and bullshit, the bill is also attracting a lot of criticism for how much money it will likely cost the state. Democrats arguing against the bill brought up the fact that the federal government could pull funding from public schools, open the school district up to lawsuits, and that the terrible press could lead to a tourist boycott.
No one is sure what Gov. Daugaard will do, but he has said “as far as he was aware he hadn’t met a transgender person and likely wouldn’t do so before deciding on the measure so as to ensure objectivity in his decision.” The objectivity of ignorance is so empowering.
Image via AP.