Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Se Pasó is a daily opinion column where Vivianna tackles entertainment, news, and pop culture with her bold and fearless voice. In other words, she says exactly what you are thinking.
It’s an incredibly sad day for the queer community in South Dakota. The this-can’t-be-real-but-it-really-is moment occurred on Tuesday afternoon, after the state’s senate passed a bill to ban transgender students from using restrooms of the gender they identify with. The House Bill 1008 prohibits restroom usage by any student who is not of the same biological sex, which is defined in the bill, “The term, biological sex, as used in this Act, means the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person's chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth.” Even though Governor Dennis Daugaard will have to sign off on the bill to make it an official law, it’s a tragic nightmare that might become a reality.
This bill screams anti-transgender and aims to undermine the LGBTQ community within the state. Their concern might come off as “trying to cause less confusion for younger people,” but it is doing the exact opposite. If a male identifies as female or transitioned to female, then she should be allowed to use the female restroom. To have her walk into the male facilities would only cause anguish and resolves absolutely nothing. And unfortunately South Dakota isn’t the only state that wants to pass this law. According to TIME, five other states have also contemplated “bathroom bills.”
Transgender people are not going into restrooms to harass people or make others uncomfortable, they are going in to get their business done and get out. It’s that simple.
The American Civil Liberties Union’s South Dakota policy director, Libby Skarin, took the words right out of my mouth when she told TIME, “This bill causes actual harm to transgender students, an already vulnerable population. It singles out and targets them and attempts to isolate them, in a way that is really truly hurtful and discriminatory.” What this bill would accomplish is segregation and that is incredibly disappointing.
This bill — and potential law — is deeply rooted in prejudice and intolerance to the LGBTQ community. If they couldn’t stop LGBTQ from being able to legally wed then they’ll find other ways to undermine the group. Even though states are working to protect rights for LGBTQ people, there are still loopholes that people in power can use to their benefit.
This bathroom bill is a petty argument that wounds a nation looking to make progress. Wouldn’t South Dakota, and other states, want to be on the right side of history? It’s not to say that everyone has to believe in the same ideas, but to operate as peaceful human beings seems like far too big of a task to bear, I guess. Because at the end of the day, we’re just that: humans.
To all the LGBTQ people in South Dakota: I’m with you. If this bill passes, it may be time to look into other safe spaces that protect you — a place that doesn’t make you feel any less of a person.