SB 46 Would Ban Trans Sports Participation Consistent With Gender Identity

The South Dakota Senate passed an anti-transgender sports ban bill, South Dakota Senate Bill 46, becoming the first chamber in the 2022 to advance discriminatory anti-transgender legislation. This comes after an historically bad 2021 session that saw a record number of anti-transgender bills introduced and passed across the country.

SB 46 passed out of the State Senate Affairs Committee on Friday, Jan. 14 as the legislature moves at breakneck speed in an attempt to rush through this discriminatory bill. On Saturday, South Dakotans gathered for six concurrent rallies across the state in protest of this legislation and other anti-transgender bills introduced this year. But the bill passed a full Senate vote on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

In 2021, after issuing a style-and-form veto of an anti-trans sports ban bill, South Dakota’s governor issued two executive orders that effectively implemented the policy articulated in the vetoed legislation. Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley issued the following statement in reaction to today’s vote:

“South Dakota’s legislature has been an innovator in discrimination against transgender people, and SB 46 continues this shameful legacy by being the very first anti-trans bill passed by a legislative chamber this year. The South Dakota legislature has been rehashing the same conversation about trans youth participation in school sports for years and yet there still is no evidence that transgender youth participating in school sports has posed an actual problem. These bills don’t protect or empower girls and women — rather, they perpetuate sexist stereotypes and try to turn teammates against each other. It is time for South Dakota to let kids be kids.”

Caught in the crosshairs of their divisive political strategy are kids who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence — kids who face relentless targeting and increased levels of discrimination in their community, as evidenced by the record incidents of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-binary people in 2021.

— Human Rights Campaign