Republican South Dakota legislator Roger Hunt wants someone to look at transgender athletes' genitals before they can compete. He has proposed legislation that would require a visual inspection of each athlete's private areas and a check of their "original birth certificate" in response to a change in policy by a high school athletic group that allows students to decide for themselves what gender group they will compete in.
"This is South Dakota. We haven’t adopted the East Coast culture. We haven’t adopted the West Coast culture. We maintain our own culture," Hunt told the Rapid City Journal.
The South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors updated its policies last year to be inclusive of transgender athletes, but state lawmakers are outraged. Legislators repeatedly tried to overturn the policy last year, but couldn't get the bills through the state Senate. The bills passed the House of Representatives each time.
The association's board is reworking the policy following the political blowback. The board will meet next week, and a change in the policy could make Hunt's proposal unnecessary.
One Republican senator cautioned his fellow legislators to wait and see what the association decides. "For that reason we may be putting the cart before the horse," Sen. Larry Tidemann told the newspaper.
"This definitely is a minority population we’re addressing," Rep. Kris Langer, another Republican, said as an explanation for his reluctance to meddle in the association's decision. "It’s such a small group to be legislating. No policy, or rescinding this, is the best."