South Dakota rejects bill restricting trans students in athletics
South Dakota has rejected a bill which would have banned transgender students from taking part in athletics which match their gender identity.
Committee members voted to postpone the bill so it wouldn’t reach the senate.
Several organisations spoke out against the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union, South Dakota High School Activities Association, the Association of School Boards in South Dakota and the South Dakota Education Association.
The Human Rights Watch wrote a letter in opposition, highlighting how the move would discriminate against trans students and put them at risk of bullying.
Trans students face discrimination
Nearly two percent of high school students identify as transgender, of which a third (35%) have attempted suicide in the past year, a study revealed this week.
The Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asked 131,901 students across ten states and nine “large urban school districts” about their gender identity.
The CDC partnered with LGBT organisations, including the inclusive schools non-profit GLSEN, to obtain the statistics, which show trans students face a higher risk of mental health problems and bullying.
The CDC suggests anti-bullying policies and better training for staff members could help create a safe and supportive school environment for trans students.
Amit Paley, CEO & executive director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for LGBTQ youth, said in a statement: “The CDC’s new groundbreaking report shows that transgender youth exist in much greater numbers than researchers previously estimated.
“By collecting data inclusive of gender identity, the report shows the very real health risks faced by transgender and gender non-conforming youth.
“The CDC’s findings highlight the need for even more policies to protect transgender and gender nonconforming youth, as well as additional support for LGBTQ-affirming organisations like The Trevor Project.”