South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has announced a coalition dubbed “Defend Title IX Now” to fight efforts to allow transgender individuals to compete in girl’s and women’s sports.
The South Dakota legislature passed and sent to Noem a bill barring the practice, but she issued a “style and form” veto Friday limiting the measure to just K-12 sports and not college or adult leagues.
Noem says “Defend Title IX Now,” whose website says “only girls should play girls’ sports,” is a broader effort to take the issue to the national level.
A growing number of states are considering similar bills, which has led some athletes and LGBTQ activists to pressure the NCAA not to hold post-season competition in those states.
Noem says her goal is to get “a coalition big enough where the NCAA cannot possibly punish us all, then we can guarantee fairness at the collegiate level.”
She adds that “it’s fundamentally unfair” for men who identify as women to compete in women’s sports and is in direct conflict with Title IX, the federal law requiring gender equality in programs receiving federal funds.
There are currently no transgender students competing in K-12 sports in South Dakota, but Noem warns that as more people talk about it, “we could, in the near future, have a situation where we are dealing with it on a daily basis in South Dakota.”