South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem signed a bill on Thursday that bans biological males from competing in girls’ and women’s sports in the state, including provisions for college athletics.
The bill, SB 46, is designed “to protect fairness in women’s sports.”
I will sign my bill to protect fairness in women's sports in the Capitol Rotunda at 4pm CT. Tune in at https://t.co/3fdynaWk26 pic.twitter.com/oa8SPkmHhN
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) February 3, 2022
The governor signed the legislation during a live stream from the state’s Capitol.
Noem addressed the transgender controversy last month in a statement from her office that noted plans to push the bill forward.
“One way a young girl exercises her liberty is on the fields and in the gyms of South Dakota: playing basketball, swimming competitively, and running track, just to name a few popular sports here in the Mount Rushmore state,” the governor said in the statement.
“It is in playing sports that a young girl can learn how to achieve and how to succeed. But some in our society want to take those opportunities to succeed away from our young women. Some schools and organizations across the country have sought to take away their freedom to achieve by changing the rules of the games,” she added.
Noem argued the “playing field” is not equal between boys and girls due to “common-sense biology.”
“When our children participate in sports and activities, they learn valuable lessons like teamwork, perseverance, and hustle. For many activities, the playing field is level for boys and girls: debate, theater, and academic competitions, to name a few. But for other activities, the playing field is not equal between boys and girls because of basic, common-sense biology,” she wrote.
The bill’s text reads:
Any interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic team, sport, or athletic event that is sponsored or sanctioned by an accredited school, school district, an activities association or organization, or an institution of higher education under the control of either the Board of Regents or the Board of Technical Education must be designated as one of the following, based on the biological sex at birth of the participating students:
(1) Females, women, or girls;
(2) Males, men, or boys; or
(3) Coeducational or mixed.
Only female students, based on their biological sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls.
For purposes of this section, biological sex is either female or male and the sex listed on the student’s official birth certificate may be relied upon if the certificate was issued at or near the time of the student’s birth. The failure to comply with this section is a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for relief authorized under this Act.
The bill aims to be the strongest in the nation to create fairness in sports for women. According to Fox News, the newly signed bill makes South Dakota the 10th state in the nation to pass such legislation.
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
The issue has risen in controversy at the collegiate level recently as swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, has become a top national women’s swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania.