No Strip Searches for Transgendered Student-Athletes in South Dakota

Both proposals died for lack of support in the South Dakota Senate after being approved by the House.

The SDHSAA finally decided at a meeting in late August to deal with students who claimed to be transgendered on a case-by-case basis.

An “independent hearing officer” would be appointed by the executive director of the South Dakota High School Activities Association to hear each case. Students or schools that disagree with the IHO’s final decision would have the opportunity to appeal to the SDHSAA board of directors.

That isn’t close to being good enough for Hunt. He said the process endorsed by the SDHSAA is no process at all, and leaves too many unanswered questions.

“We, of course, would like to see the parameters,” he said. “How does this thing get started? How is it resolved? How do the decisions get made and what is the criteria for making the decisions?”

For instance, where would birth certificates, which identify a student’s gender, fit into the process? Hunt worries that those “official government documents” will simply be ignored in favor of the student’s gender claim.

“That would open up a real can of worms, as well,” said Hunt. “We should be looking for factual information that can be used to substantiate that claim. A birth certificate is one. Appearance is another.”

Hunt also has a problem with the history of the SDHSAA process to decide transgender cases. As far as he is concerned, it has been based on the values of the “international transgendered community” not the South Dakotan community.

“That’s about as biased as you can get,” said Hunt.

“I can tell you after being in the legislature for 19 years that we recognize there are differences in values between what happens in South Dakota and what happens in California or New York.”