Timely Tolerance: S.D. governor delivers ‘miracle’ veto of restrictive transgender bill

By: Albie Nicol

I didn’t believe in miracles. Not Christmas miracles, not birthday miracles, not divine miracles. No kind of miracles had proven their existence to me, but now I sit staring at a headline from the heavens: “South Dakota Governor Vetoes Bill on Transgender Bathrooms.” And I start to think maybe miracles happen after all.

The bill in question is House Bill 1008 introduced by South Dakota State Representative Fred Deutsch, a Republican who wanted to “protect the innocence of children” with this legislation. The bill would have required transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms their biological sex correlated with. While the bill passed through all the hoops it must, Gov. Dennis Daugaard had till March 1 to decide if he wanted to sign the bill, veto the bill or automatically pass it by not doing anything. And, boy, my community and I could not be more relieved.

While no, I do not live in South Dakota, I hate to see oppression of my community taking place in any setting even if I am not directly affected or oppressed. Using the bathroom is a basic human right and shouldn’t be a cause of anxiety or lost sleep. Sadly for many transgender people it affects their mental well being and also their confidence in who they are. I believe that had Bill 1008 passed, some trans youth would have taken their lives. While this may seem drastic, I wish I could put it in perspective for you.

But across the nation almost daily, adults are discussing the genitals of transgender teens who just want to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. People who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth use the bathroom they feel comfortable and identify with every day. I think it’s time we allow the same courtesy for my community. While some transgender teens feel safe using the bathroom of the gender they identify with, many trans youth don’t feel safe using the restroom they identify with because they don’t pass as the gender they identify with; they’re afraid of how peers may react or how parents of peers may react. That isn’t something someone should have to consider when entering a bathroom, right? It’s time to end the stigma of transgender people and what bathrooms we use because really it’s none of your business.

South Dakota would have been the first state to pass a bill restricting bathroom usage to the biological sex of transgender students. While no state technically has a bill like this, many trans students use the bathroom their biological sex lines up with because it’s easier than the complications of dealing with reactions.

I may not believe in full-fledged miracles, but I’m starting to believe again, one vetoed bill at a time.

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