Johnson: Protect transgender rights

Columnist Matthew Johnson delves into South Dakota’s governor taking away transgender peoples’ rights. 

Matthew Johnson

Transgender rights have long been ridiculed and brought into question by the far right. People who are transgender have faced countless challenges to their personal rights over the years, and while the U.S. is starting to become more accepting of trans rights, there is still a lot of work to do. Trans rights have just been brought back into question recently, this time in regards to trans women being able to participate in women’s sports. South Dakota is now one of the latest states to be plagued by more transphobic policies.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has signed an executive order that would ban trans girls and women from participating in women’s sports. She did this after mounting criticism and pressure from other Conservatives, advising her not to give into the fear of lawsuits and boycotts. The two executive orders signed by Noem hide their transphobic nature by discussing the dangers of males competing in women’s sports. The executive orders cite biological sex, which has been a misleading term used to describe a person’s gender.

Biological sex refers to how a person is born, which includes physical features. Biological males have an X and a Y chromosome, while biological females have two X chromosomes. Gender identity is much different than biological sex. It is about how a person feels on the inside. This explains why people dress and behave the way they do. Even people who aren’t transgender can display characteristics that are often associated with the opposite gender. Suffice to say a person’s gender doesn’t always revolve around their biological sex.

When will transgender Americans be able to go about their lives without fear of their rights being taken away by the Republican Party? And furthermore, what does the government and society for that matter have to gain from hurting people who are different from them? The U.S. has a long history of claiming that it’s the best country in the entire world. This claim is only valid for a select group of people — basically straight white Americans and the one-percenters.

It seems that people who are the most transphobic are also the least likely to enlighten themselves with research for why transgender individuals feel the way that they do. The amount of times trans Americans have had to worry about their rights being taken away is pathetic. Whether it be joining the Military, getting the health care they need or competing in sports, it needs to stop.