Email to Gov. Daugaard of South Dakota re “Bathroom” Bill

South Dakota is considering a bill requiring students to use restrooms, locker rooms, and similar facilities as the gender they were assigned at birth, regardless of their gender identity.  The bill is currently with the governor to be signed or vetoed.  I wrote a short email encouraging the governor to veto the bill.

Dear Governor Daugaard:

I write to strongly encourage you to veto HB1008, which would be a first-in-the-nation attack on transgender people. Specifically, it would attack the some of the most vulnerable of transgender people, transgender students.

As you have no doubt heard in recent days, being transgender is about an incongruence between a person’s gender they were assigned at birth (i.e. what is listed on their birth certificate, if it has not been amended) and their own deeply felt sense of their own gender (i.e. their gender identity). HB1008 tells transgender children that, no matter their gender identity, no matter who they truly are, they must use the facilities associated with their gender assigned at birth. Contrary to the bill’s stated intent, HB1008 will guarantee that (transgender) boys will be required to use girl’s facilities, and (transgender) girls will be required to use boy’s facilities. If you truly want to keep boys with boys and girls with girls, you must veto HB1008.

Signing HB1008 would paint a target on the back of every transgender student in South Dakota. Forced to use the wrong restrooms, they would suffering abuse at the hands of the state on a daily basis, and would be at much higher risk of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse at the hands of their peers. Contrary to what the bill’s sponsors have told you, it is *transgender* students who have something to fear from restrooms, not cisgender (i.e. not transgender) students.

Ultimately, this is a simple call. Please do the right thing and veto this bill. Don’t let South Dakota be the first in the nation to enact this horrible legislation.

— Emily T. Prince, Esq.