South Dakota is one signature — or five days of inaction — away from setting a devastating new precedent for discrimination against transgender people. House Bill 1008 would make it illegal for schools to provide accommodations to transgender students that recognize their gender identities. It passed passed in the Senate on Tuesday by a 20–15 vote, having passed in the House last month 58–10, which means only a veto from Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) can keep it from becoming law. watch more..
The consequences of this legislation cannot be overstated. It endangers every single school’s funding and budgets, and it endangers the mental health of every transgender kid in the state. Daugaard would be requiring every school district to violate federal law for the sole purpose of marginalizing transgender kids, possibly endangering their well-being to such an extent that they experience massive depression and even consider suicide. HB 1008, one of several anti-LGBT bills conservative groups have been advancing in South Dakota, requires that every restroom, locker room, and shower room in any public school be “designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex.” The language leaves no room for transgender students, defining biological sex as “the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth.”