South Dakota has become the first state to pass a ban on children disallowing some students from using the correct bathroom that corresponds with their gender. In the bill, some boys and girls must use the opposite restroom, as the state does not recognize the difference between sex and gender. The discriminatory bill was passed by the State Senate in a 20-15 vote after passing the House by a whopping 58-10, and will now move to Governor Dennis Daugaard.
Daugaard has previously indicated support for the bill, though he has tempered his support of late, now stating he will study it further prior to signing it. This would be the first law in the nation that would be explicitly for the purpose of discriminating against individuals based on gender, and could see a legal challenge in the courts fairly quickly. Other states have attempted similar legislation, the most notorious being Washington state where a genital inspection bill underwent discussion just last week.
Discrimination against transgender individuals has been a rising problem in the United States, as many fear allowing individuals to be who they are, whether they are born with a penis or a vagina. For many conservatives, using the restroom is a sexual experience, and all nudity is viewed in a sexual nature. They extrapolate this view to a group they refuse to understand, or even attempt to, and assume that those who are transgender only do so as a means of gaining access to restrooms for a sexual thrill. For the rest of society, using the restroom is simply a biological urge and using the restroom corresponding with their gender rather than their sex is a basic necessity.
Of course, segregating restrooms and locker rooms based on gender or sex is an almost quaintly outdated custom in the United States anyway. Many places across the nation, including the vast majority of homes, have restrooms that can be used by anybody of any gender or sex without issue.
The South Dakota bill has been condemned swiftly and harshly by many civil rights groups. The ACLU has urged Daugaard to veto it, and many groups are already threatening lawsuits to challenge its constitutionality.
“History has never looked kindly upon those who attack the basic civil rights of their fellow Americans,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, “and history will not treat kindly those who support this discriminatory measure.”
The latest battleground against bigotry has been declared, and South Dakota will be the first front it seems. While the Mount Rushmore State is no stranger to violating basic human rights, hopefully the governor will stand with liberty and civil rights in this case.