PIERRE, S.D. (UPI) — The South Dakota state senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would bar transgender students from using bathrooms and facilities of their gender identity and only allow them to use bathrooms of their anatomical gender.
The bill passed by 20 to 15 vote and will go to Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s desk. If signed, the state will be the first in the nation to require transgender students to only use bathrooms or locker rooms of their anatomical gender.
Earlier in the month, the state house passed the bill 58 to 10, with bill sponsor Rep. Fred Deutsch declaring it would protect “bodily privacy rights” of “biologic boys and girls.”
The bill “causes actual harm to transgender students, an already vulnerable population,” ACLU South Dakota’s policy director Libby Skarin told Time. It singles out and targets them and attempts to isolate them, in a way that is really truly hurtful and discriminatory.”
But conservative Christian groups praised the bill.
“This is such the right thing to do to protect all of our students,” Family Heritage Alliance Action spokesman Dale Bartscher told the Argus Leader. “It’s a privacy bill, it’s a modesty bill, it’s sensible South Dakota common sense.”
If a student gets written consent from a parent, the student should be given a “reasonable accommodation” of a single-occupancy restroom, a unisex restroom or controlled use of a restroom or locker room, the bill states.
“Most of my male friends who I speak to a lot say, ‘I don’t mind if you use the bathroom with me,'” transgender student Thomas Lewis told KSFY. “I mean, it’s a bathroom. … It shouldn’t be a big issue to begin with.”
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