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South Dakota Poised to Become First State to Pass Anti-Trans Bathroom Law

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On Tuesday, the South Dakota state legislature passed a bill that would restrict students in public school to using bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biological sex, not their gender identity.

Should Gov. Dennis Daugaard endorse the bill,  South Dakota would become the first state to pass such a law. Daugaard previously expressed approval of the bill, but last week said he planned to do more research on the matter as he had never actually met a trans person

When it comes to laws protecting transgender people, negative factions always prey on the public's fear and ignorance of trans people, as was most recently seen in the defeat of Houston's equal rights ordinance.

Related | Trans People Are Using Selfies To Protest Discriminatory Bathroom Laws

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick reduced Houston's ordinance—which would have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and 11 other characteristics in employment, housing, and public accommodation—to "letting men in women's locker rooms and bathrooms."

Similarly, Republican Sen. David Omdahl warned that South Dakota's bill would "preserve the innocence of our young people" while his fellow GOP Sen. Brock Greenfield falsely claimed that trans people "spontaneously decide they no longer consider themselves transgender, and that happens with great frequency."

"I'm sorry if you're so twisted you don't know who you are," Omdahl recently said when asked about the bill. "I'm telling you right now, it's about protecting the kids, and I don't even understand where our society is these days." 

Omdahl, Greenfield and the other proponents of the bill miss the mark completely, having done little to no research on what the hell they're talking about. 

“This bill hurts transgender students, takes away control from local schools, and doesn’t solve any problems," National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said in a statement. "In fact, it does more harm than good to both trans kids and South Dakota’s reputation."

Trans South Dakotan high school senior Thomas Lewis called the legislature's passage of the bill "shocking," but expressed hope at finding acceptance at college in a different state—Lewis is currently planning on attending college in Minnesota. 

"At this point, I'm hoping that the governor has a sense of humanity and the common sense not to write this bill into law," Lewis told ABC News. "I am so glad to be leaving soon. I can escape the oppression that my home state wants to put on me."

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