GLAAD today is calling attention to a disturbing set of anti-LGBTQ bills that have been introduced in South Dakota this month. Passed yesterday by the South Dakota House of Representatives, HB 1057 is a harmful anti-trans bill that seeks to ban and criminalize life-saving medical care for transgender youth, and would allow doctors to be arrested and imprisoned if they decide to provide this care. As the bill heads to the Senate as early as this week, GLAAD is working to elevate ways to take action against the bill recommended by local organizations including ACLU of South Dakota and the Transformation Project, a transgender advocacy organization created to educate, support and empower the communities in South Dakota.
ACLU has encouraged people to call their Representatives in South Dakota and ask that they vote NO on HB 1057:
UPDATE: The South Dakota House just advanced a bill making it a crime to provide health care to transgender youth. It will now move to the Senate for a full vote.
If you live in South Dakota, your lawmakers need to hear from you NOW. https://t.co/nAajU5swFh
— ACLU (@ACLU) January 29, 2020
We are fighting for every trans person’s right to thrive.
Call your Representatives tonight, ahead of tomorrow’s hearing on the House Floor, and ask they vote NO on House Bill 1057. #SDLeg
by Transformation Project pic.twitter.com/nb7uqqXzae
— ACLU of South Dakota (@ACLUSouthDakota) January 27, 2020
The Transformation Project also created a video to inform the public about HB 1057 and showcased transgender people within the community that would be affected by the bill.
If made law, HB 1057 would:
- Codify an extremely restrictive definition of sex as “the biological state of being female or male, based on sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles.” This could have implications across state law for all youth but particularly for youth who are transgender, youth with intersex variations, and gender non-conforming youth.
- Make it a Class 4 Felony for any medical providers to perform gender-affirming surgery or to prescribe or provide hormone therapy or hormone blockers to any minor for the purpose of affirming or changing sex. This would cover all recommended medical treatment for transgender youth and adolescents from the beginning of puberty onward.
- Exempt from the criminal prohibition any surgical or hormonal intervention on a young person with intersex variations, thus allowing for unnecessary “corrective” surgery for intersex babies and youth while banning necessary treatment for transgender youth.
Not only would HB 1057 prevent proper healthcare for transgender youth, but it would also impede on current ongoing medical treatment for transgender people in South Dakota. This systematic constrictive definition of sex is harmful and contributes to life altering circumstances for transgender youth and young adults like depression, social isolation, self hatred, risk of self harm, suicidal behavior, and more.
Celebrities and activists including Laverne Cox, Indya Moore, and Chase Strangio have all spoken out against the bill on Twitter:
Ok we need to raise awareness about what’s going on in South Dakota. Decisions about health care should happen between doctors, patients and in the case of children their parents. Please share and contact South Dakota legislators and the governor. https://t.co/XiKxGC6Eiw
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) January 16, 2020
The bill will be heard on my bday. For my bday, trans kids & docs i’d like each of you to contact the south dakota legislators & governor to let them know how harmful this will be to trans kids & well meaning doctors who affirm them. This is absolutely obscene & unamerican https://t.co/pYbnUnUHs1
— Indya Moore (@IndyaMoore) January 16, 2020
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) January 27, 2020
In addition to HB 1057, two new extremely harmful anti-trans bills were introduced to the South Dakota Senate earlier this week by State Senator Phil Jensen.
The Senate Bill 88 (SB 88) states: If a counselor, school psychologist, or social worker, employed by a school district or nonpublic school in this state, determines during a counseling session that a student under the age of eighteen is articulating feelings of gender dysphoria, or determines that a student under the age of eighteen is articulating an interest in self-injurious behavior, the counselor, psychologist, or social worker shall provide notice of the determination to a parent of the student.
The act of requiring a counselor, psychologist, or social worker to notify the parent of a student with signs of gender dysphoria is an invasion of privacy and contradicts the confidential law for these workers.
The Policy Director for ACLU of South Dakota, Libby Skarin, shared a statement about the SB 88 and the potentially dangerous consequences of passing the bill: “This bill could result in forced disclosure of someone’s trans or questioning status to a non-affirming parent which could result in the young person becoming homeless or physically harmed, When transgender youth face discrimination and victimization at school, it can often lead to serious negative health and mental health consequences, Senate Bill 88 infringes on the rights of privacy of youth and deters young people from seeking support from trusted adults in positions to counsel them.”
Senate Bill 93 (SB 93) would give a parent the right to refuse to consent to a range of health care treatment options, including mental health treatment, for transgender young people. Any parent who refuses consent in accordance with this section may not be subject to liability, to any penalty, or to any legal action for the refusal.
SB 93 ultimately gives a parent the right to refuse to acknowledge their child is transgender. Research from ACLU of South Dakota shows that transgender youth whose families affirm their gender identity have a 52% decrease in suicidal thoughts, a 48% decrease in suicide attempts, and significant increases in self-esteem and general health.
Skarin said: “Senate Bill 93 just amounts to a proclamation of government disapproval of transgender young people and contributes to the already dangerous rates of family rejection for transgender youth.”
State Senator Phil Jensen is an anti-trans activist that supports discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Senator Jensen supported four anti-transgender bills in 2019 that were not passed and in 2014, he sponsored SB 128, which would have allowed businesses to deny service based on sexual orientation. Although SB128 was not passed, Jensen continues to fight in favor of anti-LGBTQ bills in each session.