South Dakota House of Representatives Passes Discriminatory Anti-Transgender Bill

by Nick Morrow

Bill passes 46-23, will now go to the Senate; is one of several anti-transgender measures introduced in the state this year

HRC responded to the news that the South Dakota House of Representatives has passed HB 1057, which bars transgender youth and their parents from making decisions about their medical care, and allows the state to arrest and imprison doctors providing care for trans and gender non-conforming youth. 

This legislation is one of several bills introduced in South Dakota this session that directly targets transgender and gender non-conforming South Dakotans. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Fred Deutsch, has advanced a campaign of misinformation about what it means to be transgender. He has also claimed to be behind similar bills introduced in other state legislatures across the country, including in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

“A group of extreme lawmakers, led by Rep. Fred Deutsch, are targeting transgender youth, spreading misinformation and using vicious, harmful rhetoric while doing so,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Deustch and these anti-trans elected officials want to discriminate against transgender and gender non-conforming South Dakotans, full stop. If HB 1057 were to become law, it would send a strong message to trans youth that they are less than their peers and that lawmakers in the Capitol know better than doctors, parents and trans youth. In 2016, South Dakota was the first state to introduce anti-transgender legislation that would bar trans kids from accessing facilities consistent with their gender identity, and legislators seem intent on ensuring the state remains at the forefront of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. We implore the Senate to vote against this harmful legislation.” 

Last year, lawmakers in South Dakota introduced several anti-transgender bills, including another that targeted youth by denying transgender student-athletes from participating in school-sanctioned sports based on their gender identity. In 2016, South Dakota became the first state to introduce and pass anti-transgender legislation aimed at restroom access, before the governor vetoed the measure. 

Several medical associations and organizations have spoken out against this bill and similar legislation, including the American Medical Association, the Hormone Health Network, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health.