Wednesday, February 17, 2016

SD Governor Daugaard Should Veto The Anti-Transgender Bill And Buy Some Curtains

     Governor Daugaard should veto HB 1008 on a categorical basis.  The bill would limit access to public school bathrooms and locker rooms to students whose anatomies conform to the gender
Omdahl Going Overboard
Get An Education, Senator
designation of the facilities.  I'm old-school enough to understand the squeamishness of those who are repelled by the idea of an anatomically endowed boy showering in the midst of a locker room crowded with anatomically defined girls--and that goes double when I think about grade school kids using their bathrooms.  But I'm also aware that those attitudes reflect a Victorian-era prudishness that doesn't comply with the real world in many places where unisex facilities are accepted without much of a shrug.  In this country, according to University of Utah law professor Terry Kogan in his book Toilet:  Public Restrooms And The Politics Of Sharing the first time sex-segregated bathrooms were mandated by law was in Massachusetts in 1887. While I wouldn't call this a recent development, the practice certainly hasn't been engraved in the stone of human history. Reacting against the evolution of unisex facilities is based on relatively short-standing cultural values that seem to be falling by the wayside.  I still head for the men's room in places where unisex facilities are available and I probably always will.  How my kids and grandkids respond to similar choices is their business

     However, if there's one thing I am repelled by during this brouhaha, it's the blithe dismissal and downright ridicule of those in our community who have real gender identity issues.  To be a reactionary blowhard is one thing, but to be ignorant and scornfully insensitive is another.  Republican State Senator (District 11) David Omdahl's anti-transgender tirade earlier this month at a Sioux Falls crackerbarrel revealed much about his lack of education  Omdahl calls transgender individuals "twisted" and gestures to his head when he says they need help.  Do Omdahl and his supporters even know anything about the history of transgenderism?  I doubt it. It goes a long
Is This Really Such A Big Deal?
(photo from
way back.
  For example, there were hundreds of anatomical females fighting as men during the Civil War. The Indian communities in this country have known of it for centuries, many of them adopting the sobriquet "two spirits" for the transgender individuals in their communities.  That the matter has now surfaced into the mainstream of our everyday lives probably says something about the stubborn power of enlightenment.                                                                                                                                
Meantime, Governor Daugaard has to decide if he'll go along with the reactionary tide of the legislature by signing this bill into law or sending it back to our reps for more consideration if he vetoes the thing.  He should do the latter, for the categorical reason I noted above:  It isolates and discriminates against a class of people. As a practical matter, the problem this bill seeks to solve is already nonexistent to a certain extent.  Bathrooms already have stalls for privacy, which have long been used because we make room for personal considerations when using toilets.  As to the locker room issue, the Feds last November in a suburban Chicago case  said that the installation of privacy curtains in locker rooms would satisfy any equal access laws applied by the Department of Education.  My take on this, Governor Daugaard?  Veto the bill and buy some curtains.  


  1. If you want a law that will keep Fortune 500 companies and high-tech workers under age 30 out of South Dakota for a generation, this bill will do the trick.

  2. It's clear there is a faction within the legislature that prefers to expend scarce tax dollars paying court costs whilst inviting public ridicule. What next, the governor standing on his porch proclaiming: Bigotry now. Bigotry tomorrow. Bigotry forever?