South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem spoke out against recent controversies of biological males competing in women’s athletics with a new bill to address “fairness” in girls’ sports in the state, posting to social media that, “Every young woman deserves an even playing field.”
“Every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success. That’s why only girls should be competing in girls’ sports,” Noem tweeted on Tuesday.
Every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success. That’s why only girls should be competing in girls’ sports.
I’m introducing legislation to codify my EOs and extend further protections to women and girls. Read more here: https://t.co/HypacKodq2
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) December 14, 2021
Noem also released a statement to announce the addition of new language added to legislation to defend fairness in girls’ sports.
“This is about fairness. 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,” Noem said in the statement.
“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,” she added.
Explaining the updates to the state’s legislation, the governor emphasized the clear definitions proposed to increase fairness for girls participating in athletics, pointing out that the legislation reads, “Only female athletes, based on their biological sex, shall participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls,” and that the legislation describes “biological sex” as “the sex listed on the student’s official birth certificate issued at or near the time of the athlete’s birth.”
Noem previously faced controversy over the wording of a previous version of the bill in 2020. The governor noted the “problematic” aspects have been removed.
“This legislation does not have the problematic provisions that were included in last year’s House Bill 1217,” Noem said. “Those flawed provisions would have led to litigation for our state, as well as for the families of young South Dakota athletes – male and female alike.”
The governor has argued the issue is personal for her. During a March Op-Ed, she stated:
This issue is very personal to me. I’ve been a student athlete. Thankfully, I was never a 15-year-old girl forced to shower next to a 17-year-old boy. My daughters both played collegiate sports. Thankfully, they were never subjected to that either. My older daughter, Kassidy, is pregnant with a baby girl right now. I want to ensure that my granddaughter has the same opportunities that I had and that my daughters had.
The issue continues to stand out in recent news as the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swim team has faced criticisms over Lia Thomas, a biological male, who has smashed women’s records in competitions and left the women far behind.