Since the legalization of same-sex marriage in June 2015, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community members have been focusing their energy and pushing harder on other discriminatory laws such as the one proposed in South Dakota. If the bill were passed it would be the first in the U.S. to require transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to their gender at birth.
South Dakota is not the only state with a proposed bill on this topic. In Texas, organizations that support such bills play off of people’s fears by playing advertisements that portray men harassing girls in bathroom stalls. However, no matter if these proposed bills get passed or vetoed, harassing people in bathrooms will remain illegal.
Generally school districts acknowledge gender identity and preferred names, allowing students to join sports teams of the gender with which they identify. Many college campuses have gender inclusive bathrooms throughout campus that allow transgender people their basic rights to use the bathroom whenever they need without creating a stigmatism around the transgender community, and possibly outing someone, by forcing them to use a separate bathroom from everyone else.
South Dakota Governor, Dennis Daugaard, was initially in favor of the bill but insisted upon researching the topic before taking a stance. During his research, Daugaard listened to three transgender individuals’ personal stories, and received statements from organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign who stated that the bill was discrimination against the transgender community. After researching the topic of transgender discrimination and bathroom rights, the governor claimed the bill was not addressing a problem that needed immediate attention and therefore the decision of whether people should use the bathroom of the gender they identify with or the one they were born with at birth could be left up to school officials. This leaves room for decisions to be made based on individuals and their circumstances.
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