Governor Daugaard flushes ‘bathroom bill’


South Dakota government is making national headlines this month, so I figured it was time for me to talk about it as well. 

On Feb. 17 the South Dakota Senate voted on a bill that would require transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex at birth. Gov. Daugaard decided to veto the bill March 1.

 If the Governor would have signed the bill, South Dakota would have been the first state in the nation to have a bill of its kind. It is followed by a piece of legislature going through the Senate that would allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples or those who associate themselves as being gay.

 I grew up in a small, conservative community, but the members of my community were always sure to make people feel safe. Would it really be that hard to create a place for transgender students to use the restroom without causing such a fuss? Why legislators think there needed to be a law telling schools what to conform to?

 When I go shopping in a public mall I see family restrooms. That is, a restroom that is separate from the men’s or the women’s. To be completely honest, I have no idea what it is like to be transgender, but I can imagine it would be equivalent to me walking into the men’s restroom like I owned the place. Does that make me, or the men who use the restroom, feel comfortable? Not so much.

 One of the supporters of the bill said that the bill would not have harmed the transgender students in any way but actually protect the other students in school. He says that young girls should not be exposed to young male’s sex organs.

I would like to note that he says nothing about young men being exposed to young girls. To that man I would like to say this: do you know it is 2016 and some students are making much poorer choices than being exposed to a penis in a locker room? 

 In my opinion the House Bill 1008, or the bathroom bill as some like to call it, was a waste of time and taxpayer dollars to be spending so much time talking about it. As taxpaying citizens, you are paying for these representatives to discuss whether or not transgender students should be allowed to use the bathroom that they associate themselves with. We could be paying these representatives to make meaningful decisions like adding value to the great South Dakota tourism, debating the pros and cons of the Keystone XL pipeline or anything other than talking about how we can make young people feel even more uncomfortable in their own skin.

 Last week the governor did meet with a non-profit organization in Sioux Falls, as well as a group of transgender people to put a face to the transgender label.

It turns out that by being educated in the situation, he made the right decision.