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Press Contact: 
Gillian Branstetter, Media Relations Manager
February 12, 2019

South Dakota House Passes Teacher Gag Rule Banning Discussion of Gender in the Classroom

The South Dakota House of Representatives passed a dangerous gag rule prohibiting educators at public schools from even acknowledging the existence of transgender people in the classroom.

Opposed by teachers and families across South Dakota, HB 1108 would prohibit teachers from saying anything related to transgender people up until Grade 8, including when it is needed to support a transgender student. The rule is a dangerous limitation for over 2,000 transgender South Dakotans and sends a clear message about the equality of hundreds of South Dakota youth.

“This bill is a harmful effort to harm transgender youth that will have ramifications for every South Dakotan,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for  Transgender Equality. “The people of South Dakota know their state cannot stay true to South Dakotan values with a bill like this one the books. If passed, the legislature will have delivered a self-inflicted wound against the entire state.”

Two years ago, North Carolina lost billions of dollars from its economy after enacting HB2, a law limiting the rights of transgender people. Just this year, lawmakers in Texas and Louisiana refused to take up bills limiting the rights of transgender people citing similar concerns about their states economic and political priorities.

HB 1108 is one of two proposals currently threatening the liberty of transgender people in South Dakota. The other, HB 1225, would force transgender students to participate in sports according to the gender assigned on their birth certificate. If passed, it would enact an extreme policy far outside those recommended by athletic associations like the NCAA and place needless hurdles in front of transgender youth hoping to participate in the same opportunities as their peers

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