South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed a bill that bans transgender girls and college-age women from participating in female school sports.
“This bill’s about fairness,” the Republican governor said Thursday after signing the bill.
“It’s about allowing biological females in their sex to compete fairly in a level playing field that gives them opportunities for success.”
The bill, which will take effect from July 1 and applies to all state-accredited schools, mandates that sporting teams can now only accept students whose “biological sex” at birth is female.
South Dakota is the 10th state to enact such a law, including Florida, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Noem’s bill could potentially face legal challenges, given federal judges have already blocked similar laws in Idaho and West Virginia.
The Justice Department has also challenged such bans in other states as possible violations of federal law.
Critics of the South Dakota bill have argued it is akin to bullying and sends the message that transgender people aren’t welcome in the state.
“At a time when young people are facing an unprecedented need for support, it is devastating to see politicians instead invent new ways to exclude them,” Sam Ames, the director of advocacy at The Trevor Project, told the Associated Press.
The NCAA hasn’t commented on the state’s bill passing, or if it plans to take any action.
The college athletics organization adopted a sport-by-sport policy for transgender athletes last month that allows the governing bodies of sports to determine its policy on transgender participation.
With Post wires