I am the only provider with a specialty credential in transgender healthcare in South Dakota; I’ve been accompanying transgender persons since 1992. I also played field hockey for the University of Notre Dame and helped initiate the women’s athletic program at that university in 1973, so I am well-versed in women’s athletics and Title IX.
It’s important that South Dakotans understand that testosterone is blocked in transgender girls who have reached puberty and in transgender women. They do not have the male testosterone levels in their bodies or the male muscle mass that the proponents of these bills allege and seem to fear. These female athletes do not have an athletic advantage. We already have a state-wide policy that addresses this.
In addition, since 2018, gender incongruence has been recognized by the 195 countries of the World Health Organization as a sexual health condition. It will be coded as such in the new ICD-11, the global standard for coding health information that is used in the U.S. Those 195 countries cannot agree on global warming, but they have been able to agree that gender incongruence is a health condition. The hate bills now before our legislature are asking South Dakotans to discriminate against persons based on a health condition.
It should also be noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that discrimination based on sex and/or gender is illegal in our country. The U.S. Department of Education made it very clear last summer that they will support transgender students and enforce Title VII and Title IX. The U.S. Office of Civil Rights has also made that clear. (I have attached those statements to this letter below my signature block.) 
Currently, South Dakota has one of the best transgender athletics policies in the country. Our state Activities Association spent eight years developing that policy, reviewing every other state's policiy and national policies in the process. That policy has worked well for the handful of transgender students who have participated in athletics in our state. South Dakota could be recognized as the national leader in this area. Instead, every year, a handful of legislators make our state the laughingstock of the country; we become a national joke. And the careful work of our fellow citizens who serve on the Activities Association is denigrated.
Unfortunately, a few state legislators and our governor demonize the small group of people, including students, who have this health condition. Every year, these hate bills spread misinformation and take up an inordinate amount of the precious time we have for legislative session. Yet, should any of these bills pass, it will cost our state dearly — in terms of its reputation as a place where people are fair-minded and, financially, in terms of our state budget  and our state’s fiscal health. South Dakota will end up in an expensive legal battle against the federal government, and we will lose. Discrimination is not a tenet of American democracy.
South Dakotans know this. That’s why the SD Activities Association, our Board of Regents, the SD Chamber of Commerce, the SD Retailers Association, our major employers (including our banks and our healthcare systems), and our healthcare associations (medical, psychological, counseling) oppose these bills. Last summer, Walmart — a major South Dakota employer, and the largest private employer in the U.S.—donated a million dollars to fight the same type of anti-transgender legislation in Arkansas. The NCAA has made it clear that tournaments will not be held in states that endorse this type of discrimination and hatred; we currently host 9 NCAA tournaments. Discrimination is not a South Dakotan value.
So far, wiser minds have prevailed. For the past 7 years, the bills proposed to limit the lives of transgender South Dakotans have been seen for what they are — discriminatory and hateful rhetoric, based on misinformation and unfounded fears. 
It’s time for South Dakotans to tell our legislators and our governor to honor the U.S. Constitution and the recommendations of the world-wide medical community. It is time to support the well-being of all South Dakotans so that we may enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — free of the fear of discrimination — together.
Anne Dilenscheider
Anne Dilenschneider, PhD, QMHP
WPATH Certified Gender Specialist
WPATH Certified Mentor
Pronouns: she/her/hers