Republican Legislature Upholds Transgender Agenda in Schools

On Tuesday, the South Dakota Senate Education Committee heard testimony on HB 1195 to “declare void the transgender policy of the South Dakota High School Activities Association and to establish a determinant in identifying a student’s sexual identity for the purpose of participation in high school athletics.”

The policy was crafted last year, and the South Dakota House passed HB 1195 bill 51-16 on Feb. 10.

The policy states:

Philosophy of Gender Identity Participation:
The SDHSAA allows participation for all students regardless of their gender identity or expression. The purpose of this policy is to designate a set of criteria in which student-athletes are able to compete on a level playing field in a safe, competitive and friendly environment, free of discrimination.

Gender Identity Participation

All students should have the opportunity to participate in SDHSAA activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records. Should any questions arise whether a student’s request to participate in a sex-segregated activity consistent with his or her gender identity is bona fide, a student may seek review of his or her eligibility for participation by working through the procedure set forth below:

Once a student has been granted eligibility to participate in the sport consistent with his/her gender identity, the eligibility is granted for the duration of the student’s participation and does not need to be renewed every sports season or school year.

For the purposes of this policy, the following definition applies:
1. Transgender Person: a person whose gender identity does not match the sex assigned to him or her at birth.
2. Gender Identity: a person’s deeply-felt internal sense of one’s own gender.
3. Gender Expression: a person’s external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine (dress, speech, mannerisms, social interactions, etc.)

sportsThe bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Jim Bolin, stated that as an education official, he is very familiar with the organization and that their decisions in the past have been good.

“However, in this instance,” said Bolin, “I believe they have made a serious mistake. First, the policy which you have before you raises some very real and profound issues about the nature and character of high school athletics. ”

Bolin stated that there are obvious differences in standards, equipment and requirements for male athletes versus female athletes. They were developed to accommodate the the differences between the two sexes.

Bolin said the policy adopted by the SDHSAA allows an individual to declare as invalid official state information (i.e. birth certificate information about the individual). Bolin said that the SDHSAA is allowing itself to be selective in what birth certificate information it will accept as valid (e.g. a birth date), and what information it will accept as invalid (i.e. the sex of the individual) . He said that no state agency has the authority to make such a profound and broad-reaching change, outside of the legislature itself. Bolin also pointed out that this policy deals with minors, and allows young people to make important and long-running decisions about themselves [in contradiction to obvious reality].

Dale Bartscher, Executive Director of the Family Heritage Alliance, spoke in favor of the bill, pointing out that due to the physical differences in the sexes, allowing a female to play on a male sports team placed the female at increased risk of injury. Bartscher also said transgender policies are not a requirement for Title IX funding, and threats that the state might lose Title IX funding are baseless.

Mark Chase pointed out that differences in scholastic athletic programs should be based on objective and consistent criteria, not subjective assertions.

The bill was also supported in testimony by Terri Jorgenson of Concerned Women For America, Travis Benson of the Catholic Diocese Of Sioux Falls, and Representative Steven Haugaard. Haugaard discussed studies which have found that many students who have suffered from sex and gender identity confusion have later adjusted to reality and gone back to recognizing what they were born as.

The bill was opposed in testimony by Lindsey Riter-Rapp of the South Dakota High School Activities Association,  Linda Whitney of the Sanborn Central School District, Wade Pogany of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, Jenae Hansen of the National Association of Social Workers-South Dakota, Terry Nebelsick, Dianna Miller of the Large School Group, and “Republican” Senator Jim White.

In her testimony, Riter-Rapp stated SDHSAA saw that other states had developed such policies and wanted to be able to respond if the question was presented here in South Dakota.  She stated that thus far, no requests for transgender accommodation have been received. Riter-Rapp also stated that the policy was structured to prevent someone from using it to gain a competitive advantage.

Hansen’s testimony consisted of the standard “passing this bill means you support discrimination” pro-homosexual propaganda, as well as claims that higher rates of suicide among sexually confused children is because of “bullying” and has nothing to do with the fact that they so strongly reject reality that they can’t even accept the physical, biological, scientific truth which stares back at them from between their legs.

During rebuttal time, Bolin stated that even after all the opponent testimony, no one had been able to challenge his concern that the SDHSSA policy allows an individual to selectively negate the official information of an official document (their birth certificate).  He also pointed out that there is no discrimination whatsoever involved in the bill, as everyone would still be able to try out for the sport of their choice.  Bolin summed up the SDHSAA transgender policy as a position that elevates subjective feelings above objective fact.

The bill was killed on a 4-3 vote in the “Republican” supermajority legislature, with two “Republicans” voting to kill the bill:

Curd Nay Frerichs Yea Greenfield (Brock) Nay
Hunhoff (Bernie) Yea Rampelberg Nay Solano Yea
Soholt Yea

The Family Heritage Alliance says there may be an effort to “smoke out” and revive this bill for a vote of the full South Dakota Senate.

A related bill, HB 1161 to limit the rule making authority of the SDHSAA to stop such pro-homosexual policies in South Dakota athletics, passed the South Dakota House on Feb. 17 on a 46-23 vote with several “Republicans” voting against it. HB 1161 was scheduled to be heard by the Senate Education Committee today.

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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  • franklinb23

    Most of the sports recognized by the SDHSAA are already not gender-specific: golf, cross country, tennis and volleyball, for instance. For non-contact sports, I don’t see the issue.

    For contact sports like football, the group’s non-discrimination policy still has to accommodate the safety of all participants.

    They’re not going to let a 5’4″ 120 pound female-to-male transgender student join the heavyweight boys wrestling team, I’d imagine.

    • Bob Ellis

      There’s nothing in the policy to prevent your last-paragraph scenario. In fact, they’d be racist-bigot-homophobes if they didn’t allow that.

      Ultimately, the policy is about advancing the homosexual agenda and normalizing every form of sexual disorientation imaginable, not about “fairness.” Which is why it should be removed from any agency under government authority such as the SDHSAA.