Issue: Unfairness in women’s sports


Editorial Board

Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) is taking heat from both sides amidst her actions on a controversial bill designed to bar trangender athletes from competing in sports.

Noem issued a “style and form veto” to House Bill 1217 titled, “an act to promote continued fairness in women’s sports.” The veto, issued just weeks after she tweeted her intent to sign the bill, is a complete rewrite or elimination of several components to the legislation. 

The changes limit the bill’s oversight in order to avoid collegiate athletics, some speculate, to avoid losing opportunities in hosting NCAA events in the state. 

The main reasoning behind this bill? The assumption that biological men have an “inherent” advantage over biological women, saying they are able to “generate higher speed and power during physical activity.”

Following the veto, Noem launched a website called “Defend Title IX Now,” a coalition designed to “protect women’s sports.” However, Noem fails to support all women by not including transgender women in this equation. 

There are two things wrong with this sentiment: Noem’s blatant lack of acknowledgement toward transgender women in women’s sports and her sexism in assuming that men will always be at a physical advantage over women. This is offensive to all women in sports.

While HB 1217 and Noem’s coalition centers around fairness in women’s sports, it is worth noting the lack of conversation about transgender men in men’s sports. In accordance with Noem’s earlier assumption, fairness in men’s sports is not needed because a transgender man could never be at a physical advantage to other biological men competing.

Noem has continued to deny that the coalition or HB 1217 are an attack on transgender rights, however, it is hard to ignore the details that suggest as much.

The message from the governor’s office has been sent loud and clear– not only are transgender athletes unwelcome in South Dakota, but women are just too weak and too fragile to compete against anyone other than other biological women.

The Collegian Editorial Board meets weekly and agrees on the issue of the editorial. The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.