South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem recently suggested new legislation that would prevent biological males from taking part in female collegiate sports. Noem’s move comes multiple months after she faced major criticism from Republicans for vetoing a similar bill in the spring.
The draft of the legislation declares that only biological females will be permitted to participate in any athletic event, sport, or team “designated as being for females, women, or girls.” Furthermore, any athlete who suffers harm from noncompliance would have a right to “injunctive relief.”
The South Dakota Governor asserted that the proposed legislation is motivated by “fairness,” given that “every young woman deserves an equal playing field where she can achieve success.”
Earlier in the year, however, Noem faced heavy criticism from the GOP for issuing a “style and form veto” to legislation passed by state lawmakers, which would have banned biological males from participating in women’s sports.
State lawmakers did not overrule Noem’s veto, which in turn placed the governor at the center of a firestorm of controversy. Multiple critics alleged that Noem caved to outside pressures, notably the NCAA.
However, Noem later defended herself in an op-ed published in the National Review, arguing that the legislation from the spring constituted “a trial lawyer’s dream.”
“Conservatives should not doubt my desire to fight on this issue,” the governor declared in her editorial, reminding Republicans that she openly opposed the federal government after the USDA tried forcing girls to compete against boys in a 4-H rodeo.
“I didn’t have other leaders standing with me in that fight,” Noem continued, “but we won it, nonetheless.”
Noem’s new proposal is similar in intention to the spring legislation; however, her bill does not include “problematic provisions” that resulted in her veto during the spring.
The recent proposal emerges after a transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia Thomas, smashed multiple records in women’s distance freestyle. Thomas, a biological male who identifies as female, broke records less than two years after competing as a male in competitions.
Numerous team members of Thomas have spoken out to media outlets regarding their dismay over Thomas’s dominance in female swim competitions. However, the Ivy League university refuses to stand down to critics.