February 22, 2019 at 3:53 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
‘Don’t Say Trans’ bill dies in South Dakota legislature
South Dakota, Pierre, gay news, Washington Blade
A “Don’t Say Trans” bill died in the South Dakota legislature (Photo by Dk4hb; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Legislation that would have barred K-7 teachers from teaching about gender dysphoria, often the experience of being transgender, died in the South Dakota legislature on Friday.

The bill, House Bill 1108, was approved in South Dakota House last week by a vote of 39-30. On Friday, however, a Senate committee voted to table legislation by a 7-2 vote.

The South Dakota “Don’t Say Trans” bill was one of 78 anti-LGBT bills and 18 bills that were specifically anti-transgender pending in state legislatures throughout the country this legislative session, according to the Equality Federation.

“No instruction in gender dysphoria may be provided to any student in kindergarten through grade seven in any public school in the state,” the bill stated.

HB1108 was the third anti-transgender bill to fail in the South Dakota legislature, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement the failure of “Don’t Say Trans” bill should serve as a wake-up call.

“After the failure of two previous bills targeting transgender people, this bill’s death should serve as third strike for the state legislature,” Keisling said. “Throughout this process, it’s become clear these bills have nothing to do with safety or concern for children and far more to do with fear based on ignorance. South Dakota better off discarding by some in the state legislature to target transgender youth, and families across the state are surely celebrating this win.”

Another anti-trans bill, House Bill 1225, remains pending before the state legislature. The legislation would prohibit transgender kids from competing in high school sports consistent with their gender identity. A House committee favorably reported out the bill this week.

Keisling said even though HB1225 is pending, the failure of the “Don’t Say Trans” bill is a victory.

“While we are still watching a fourth bill that would severely limit transgender students from playing sports, we send our congratulations to transgender South Dakotans, their families, and allies who testified against this bill and worked tirelessly to replace such prejudice with their acceptance and love,” Keisling said.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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