Will South Dakota officially become the newest anti-transgender, together with Virginia and other states? She is already on the list of The 12 Most Anti-LGBT States. Last month, S. Dakota’s Republicans submitted their resolution concerning Bill 1008, an anti-transgender bill that would ban the use of bathrooms, locker rooms, and other group places by transgender students.

The Republican argument is that this decision is the best for all “other” kids. Republican National Committee said that if this bill becomes a law (it would be first of its kind), transgender students will have to ask their schools to find a solution, that is, to allow them access to separate restrooms, since they would refuse to use the bathrooms corresponding to their biological gender.

Governor Dennis Daugaard is the one who will decide whether the state will approve the Bill 1008 restrictions for the vulnerable group. He has already been contacted by many LGBT organizations, individuals, and civil rights movements to veto the bill which already passed in the state House. His response to their call is ambiguous (or call it, diplomatic), since he said that he’s never met a transgender person before, but he also said that meeting with LGBT rights activists helped him understand some things. His claim is also refuted by Kendra Heathscott, transgender activist and member of Center for Equality. She wrote a letter in which she reminds the Governor of their meeting at the CHS (Children’s Home Society).

Anti-transgender bill causes controversy

The anti-transgender bill not only puts the Governor in middle, but many other people, because it is a sensitive subject related to important issues:religious freedom, state vs. federal law, Democrats vs. Republicans,discrimination, and bullying, students’ privacy rights versus the rights of the transgender community.

On religious freedom, conservative Christians comment that they are against transgender students using the same restrooms their children use, because none of their kids would feel comfortable and safe around them. This statement entails a new problem: the possibility for discrimination and bullying -- transgender kids would be exposed to public embarrassment, ridicule, and harassment, just like other minority groups havealreadybeen exposed to controversial opinions by the Republicans.

This issue especially comes to light with the collision between state and federal law. The National Center for Gender Equality and the LGBT activists rely on Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination of rights based on sex, and which has been extended by the Education Department to prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity. On the other hand, the Republican National Committee in its resolution claims that this interpretation of Title IX “is not legally binding.”

Regarding students’ privacy, opinions on the proposed bill have risen publicly, emphasizing the fact that straight students have rights to move freely and safely (a girl wouldn’t feel comfortable if a person with male genitalia enters the restroom).

This bill will take its final form on the 1st of March when Gov. Dennis Daugaard will decide whether to sign it, or veto it.

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