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South Dakota Bans Transgender Women and Girls From Sports Aligned With Their Identity

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, signed a bill Thursday banning transgender women and girls from playing in sports leagues that align with their gender identity. 

South Dakota became the 10th state to pass such a law. Those in favor of transgender people competing in alignment with their gender identity condemned the passage of the state’s bill, stating that enacting such laws harms transgender people’s ability to have the same opportunities as cisgender people. Those in support of the new law argue that they are protecting fairness in women’s sports.

Noem, who shied away from signing a similar bill last year, lobbied vigorously to sign and bring forth the law in the state in 2022. In 2021, she presented a “style and form” veto to last year's bill, leading to its end and argued that it contained flawed language that put the state at risk of litigation and retribution from the NCAA, according to the AP. She then issued executive orders that restricted participation on girls’ and women’s sports teams.

South Dakota joins other states in outlawing transgender women and girls from competing in alignment with their gender identity. In other states, such as Idaho and West Virginia, federal judges have stopped enforcement of the laws. The U.S. Department of Justice has also challenged bans in other states, stating that the policies are infractions on federal law.

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