Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 25, 2019

Today, House lawmakers voted to kill legislation that would prohibit transgender high school students from playing sports with the gender they identify with.

The ACLU of South Dakota opposed House Bill 1225, legislation that would have restricted participation in high school athletic activities to the gender listed on a person’s birth certificate. The bill was another attempt to codify discrimination against transgender youth under state law and undermine the oversight and authority of the South Dakota High School Activities Association to ensure equitable and fair participation in high school activities.                                                                      

“All young people should have the opportunity to play high school sports and have their personal dignity respected. Transgender students are no different,” said Libby Skarin, policy director for the ACLU of South Dakota. “No one is harmed by allowing transgender people to compete consistent with who they are. We’re thrilled with the committee’s decision kill this bill, sending a clear message of inclusion and acceptance for our transgender friends and neighbors.”

In addition to the ACLU of South Dakota, organizations like the South Dakota High School Activities Association, the Human Rights Campaign, the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Large School Group and the Nasional Association of Social Workers, South Dakota Chapter, also opposed House Bill 1225.

The SDHSAA procedure for transgender athletes now in place puts South Dakota in line with at least two dozen other states with inclusive policies for transgender students at some or all high schools, including Minnesota, Colorado and Wyoming.

About the ACLU of South Dakota

Decisions made during the annual sessions of the South Dakota Legislature have a deep and lasting impact on our state’s people and communities. As new laws are created and others repealed or written, it’s important to ensure that these changes preserve and strengthen our constitutional rights. For up-to-date information on the bills the ACLU of South Dakota is tracking, go to

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection, and privacy are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBT communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for people of South Dakota.