Sioux Falls, S.D. - Today the Senate Education Committee voted to pass HB 1008, a bill that would single out and stigmatize South Dakota transgender students and force them to choose between isolated accommodations or those that do not correspond to their gender identity. The bill now advances to the full Senate for consideration.
The following quote can be attributed to Heather Smith, Executive Director
"In the same room where they earlier considered a bill to establish suicide awareness and prevention training requirements for school employees, South Dakota legislators voted to pass a bill that stigmatizes and targets vulnerable transgender students for discrimination. We know transgender students face staggeringly rates of depression and anxiety, and an alarming 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide. H.B. 1008 would do nothing to protect students privacy but it will do real and lasting harm to vulnerable transgender students."
"What is truly disappointing is despite the fact that over 35 South Dakotans traveled to Pierre to make their voices heard in emotional testimony, the bill was still passed out of committee. Senators heard from transgender students, members of the clergy, and LGBT family members and allies about the ways in which their lives will be negatively impacted by HB 1008. Meanwhile, supporters of the bill presented testimony by a small handful of lobbyists representing national interest groups. Going forward, we hope our lawmakers will embrace all South Dakotans and support the issues that are important to the people of our state not the interests of outsider organizations."
The following quote can be attributed to Libby Skarin, Policy Director.
"With serious and complex issues like teacher pay and healthcare needing to be addressed this year, it is disturbing that this session so far has launched one of the worst attacks on vulnerable transgender children in the entire country. Bill after bill seems fixated on where kids can go to the bathroom, how they can identify themselves, and on what sports teams they can play. It is this type of hostility toward young trans people from adult leaders that contributes to the devastating bullying against and high rates of depression and even suicide among transgender young people."