Bathrooms in South Dakota are about to get a bit confusing. A controversial South Dakota “bathroom bill” is one signature away from being placed into practice. The proposed bill, which only requires the approval of Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, would force transgendered students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth gender, not to the gender they now identify with.
Reports The Associated Press on Feb. 17, via Fox News: “The Senate voted 20-15 to send the bill to Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who initially responded positively to the measure but said last week he’d need to study it more before making a decision. Advocates say the bill is meant to protect the privacy of students, but opponents say it discriminates against vulnerable adolescents.”
House Bill 1008, read here in its entirety, would “restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools” by designating restrooms, locker rooms and shower rooms that are for “student use and accessible by multiple students at the same time” for use “only by students of the same biological sex.”
The bill also would apply to locations where students are “participating in a school sponsored activity off school premises.” If any such students are in a “state of undress in the presence of other students,” then the trans students could only enter the bathrooms or similar rooms used by students of the same biological sex.
The bathroom bill says however that a school must make reasonable accommodations and allow the transgendered student access to the bathroom of their choice, as long as doing so “does not impose an undue hardship” for the district, and only after the student’s parents or guardians consent in writing.
However, such “accommodation” does not apply to “rooms designated for use by students of the opposite biological sex if students of the opposite biological sex are present or could be present.” In other words, the trans students would have to use their own “unisex” or single-occupancy bathroom, which of course can already be used by males or females.
Civil rights groups and LGBT-rights organizations have spoken out in earnest against the passing of South Dakota’s House Bill 1008. The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota and the Human Rights Campaign are calling on Governor Daugaard to veto the legislation.
“History has never looked kindly upon those who attack the basic civil rights of their fellow Americans, and history will not treat kindly those who support this discriminatory measure,” commented Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign.
South Dakota’s Republican Sen. David Omdahl urged legislators this week to throw their support behind the bathroom bill, stumping that it will “preserve the innocence of our young people.”
“I’m sorry if you’re so twisted you don’t know who you are,” Omdahl said, according to the AP report. “I’m telling you right now, it’s about protecting the kids, and I don’t even understand where our society is these days.”
Do you agree or disagree with South Dakota’s proposed bathroom bill?