By Calvin Freiburger
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem warned the Biden administration Thursday she will take them to court if the federal government proceeds with plans to deny federal funds to the state as punishment for limiting women’s athletics to actual women.
The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Agriculture have signaled their intentions to interpret Title IX nondiscrimination rules for public education to encompass “sexual orientation and gender identity.” Critics say such interpretations do not merely require protecting homosexual or gender-confused individuals from tangible harm, but rather mandate the elimination of longstanding commonsense rules and distinctions to accommodate LGBT ideology.
One of the most contentious such accommodations is the forced inclusion of “transgender women” – biological men who claim to be women – in female sporting events and athletic competitions. LGBT activists claim it’s “discriminatory” to reserve female competitive sports for actual females, but science confirms that “trans women” (i.e., biological men) retain distinct physical advantages through which they can deprive actual female athletes of recognition and scholarship opportunities intended to advance girls.
President Joe Biden “is insisting that we allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports or else lose funding for SNAP and school lunch programs,” Noem said Thursday, The Center Square reports. “South Dakota will continue to defend basic fairness so that our girls can compete and achieve. I would remind President Biden that we have defeated him in litigation before and are ready to do so again. Mr. President, we’ll see you in court.”
Noem has a complicated history on the issue. In early March 2021, she declared she was “excited to sign … very soon” HB1217, which affirmed that a “team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex.” But days later, following a barrage of media and corporate pressure, Noem reversed herself at the last minute, announcing she was sending the bill back to the legislature over sudden reservations about its “vague and overly broad language” and suggesting various “style and form” changes.
Those changes, which would have made the bill harder to enforce at the high school level and would have exempted the collegiate level entirely, didn’t sit well with most conservatives, whom Noem tried and failed to mollify by announcing a “Defend Title IX Coalition” — effectively a petition which carried no legal force, but did help Noem collect contact information for future mailing lists.
The South Dakota House “resoundingly” rejected Noem’s “style and form” changes, and Noem sent a letter to House leaders declaring the bill effectively vetoed, while laying the blame on the legislature’s refusal to make her recommended changes rather than her rejection of the measure.
Almost a year later, Noem signed into law SB46, which declares that “[o]nly female students, based on their biological sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls.”
The new law lets students bring civil suits against schools or athletic associations for “direct or indirect harm” due to violations of the bill, schools sue any government entity that retaliates against them for refusing to let gender-confused athletes compete based on their “gender identity,” and bars retaliation against students for reporting violations. Unlike HB1217, it does not include a provision allowing students to sue schools for monetary damages as a result of “psychological, emotional, and physical harm” caused by having to compete with someone of the opposite sex.
Scientific research affirms that hormone suppression does not suffice to cancel out the physiological advantages enjoyed by male athletes.
In a paper published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Zealand researchers found that “healthy young men [do] not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy”; therefore, “the advantage to transwomen [biological men] afforded by the [International Olympic Committee] guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”