Gov. Kristi Noem Signs Bill Banning Transgender Athletes From Competing In Women’s Sports
Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill Thursday designed to protect women’s sports by mandating educational institutions to assign students to sports teams based on their biological sex.
The bill solidifies Noem’s 2021 executive order declaring that transgender athletes must compete on teams in alignment with their biological sex. Noem said that the bill is about “fairness,” particularly for female athletes who compete against biological men.
“This is about fairness. Every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success, but common sense tells us that males have an unfair physical advantage over females in athletic competition,” Noem said. “Women have fought long and hard for equal athletic opportunities, and South Dakota will defend them.”
“Only female athletes, based on their biological sex, shall participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls,” the legislation reads.
The legislation also includes provisions that allow individual athletes to file private lawsuits against schools or institutions that fail to comply with the new state standards. The bill further states that the state attorney general “shall provide legal representation at no cost to that entity or individual” who files a lawsuit against institutions, not in compliance.
Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male who identifies as a woman, has received pushback from teammates at the University of Pennsylvania. Thomas has dominated the sport since joining the female team.