Gov. Noem Will Propose South Dakota Ban on Transgender Women in Female Sports

Gov. Noem Will Propose South Dakota Ban on Transgender Women in Female Sports kristi noem speaks into mic South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 11, 2021, in Dallas, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 16 December 2021 10:22 AM

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem this week announced plans to propose a bill that would ban transgender women and girls from participating in female school sports.

The Republican governor on Tuesday released the text of draft legislation to defend fairness in girls' sports at both the K-12 and college level.

The legislation expounds two executive orders by Noem, and extends further protections to women and girls.

"This is about fairness," Noem said in the release. "Every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success, but common sense tells us that males have an unfair physical advantage over females in athletic competition. It is for those reasons that only girls should be competing in girls’ sports.

"Women have fought long and hard for equal athletic opportunities, and South Dakota will defend them, but we have to do it in a smart way."

Noem vetoed a similar bill in March, when she explained that the legislation would have been struck down in court.

At the time, Noem pushed back on complaints that she was either weak on the legislation or returned the bill because she was caving to opposition from the NCAA.

"Look at my history," Noem told Fox News. "Years ago, I fought on this issue. Years ago, the federal government tried to force the sport of rodeo to eliminate girls' events and boys' events and let all genders play in all sports. And I was the only one that fought them."

Noem then signed two executive orders to protect women’s and girls' sports.

"Only girls should play girls’ sports," she said on March 29. "Given the legislature's failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics."

Transgender advocates have said Noem's proposed legislation is an attack on transgender people and would do little to actually promote the welfare and equality of women in society.

"Gov. Noem’s proposed legislation is clearly fueled by a fear and misunderstanding of transgender people in our state," Jett Jonelis, American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota manager, told The Associated Press.