South Dakota House approves ban on gender dysphoria instruction
PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota House approved House Bill 1108, a measure that bans instruction on gender dysphoria in public schools through seventh grade.
The bill originally prohibited teaching about gender identity and expression, but was amended in a house panel last week.
The amendment allowed proponents of the bill to point to the fact that gender dysphoria is classified as a mental disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
They went on to argue that gender confusion, homosexuality and being transgender equate to mental illness, with one supporter, Florence Thompson, arguing, “The transgender, homosexual lifestyle is neither healthy, nor normal.”
It was then reasoned that teaching about gender dysphoria in schools could lead children to develop it.
According to the bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Tom Pischke, “The legislative intent of this bill is to ensure that South Dakota public schools are not teaching and confusing our young children to be more susceptible to dysphoria.”
In reality, DSM-5 identified gender dysphoria as a condition so that it would be easier for patients to seek treatments, such as gender reassignment and transitioning.
Additionally, the South Dakota Association of School Psychologists came out with a statement earlier in the week arguing that gender nonconformity is not a disorder, and urging lawmakers to vote against the HB1108.
“SDASP acknowledges that neither having a transgender identity nor being perceived as gender diverse is a disorder. Young people who identify as transgender or who are struggling with gender dysphoria are among society’s most at risk populations, experiencing high levels of societal rejection and victimization, which can often lead to serious negative health and mental health consequences. HB1108 amplifies those negative messages and reinforces the incorrect notion that transgender students are not entitled to the same dignity and respect as all students.”
Opponents also pointed out that such instruction is not in the public school curriculum, but if it were, it would help teach children tolerance around the issue and prevent bullying.
The bill passed by a vote of 39-30 on Tuesday, and will now go on to the state Senate.