Republican Rep. Ann Meyer struggled through an interview on a local radio station this week. Meyer appeared on 1400 AM KVFD with Mike Devine and failed to represent Republican Party principles when it comes to LGBTQ issues.
Meyer took a swipe at her GOP colleagues who introduce legislation “against LGBTQ, and transgender.”
“I’m not going to deny there are people in our caucus that put through, that introduce several bills against LGBTQ, and transgender…” Meyer started.
Devine asked if that’s how she views the transgender sports issue.
“I’m just talking about in general,” Meyer said.
She then brought up legislation that “had something to do with, uh, uh, I don’t, something to do with conversion therapy.”
“Which I just find offensive,” she said. “I think everyone should just live and let live. Um, and, so, but the thing is, when that legislation gets introduced by one or two people, it makes our entire caucus look bad. A lot of those bills come right to my desk as chair of Human Resources — those are not advanced. Our caucus doesn’t support that kind of discrimination.”
Devine reminded Meyer that nobody is talking about conversion therapy.
“I’m just making a general statement about what bills are introduced through our legislation — legislature — and that kind of thing does give, I think Republicans a bad name,” Meyer said.
“I don’t think so,” Devine said.
“That part of it. The other stuff does,” Meyer said.
Meyer then said she “understands” what Devine is saying about athletics.
“And you know what, there is a different body structure to men and women, there are,” Meyer said. “The bone structure is different, the muscle mass is different. And I think we can all agree that there are differences in sports.”
Meyer said when her son ran cross country the boys’ times were always faster.
“I”m not saying that’s across the board either. So I don’t want to discriminate against women, however, if there is a sport that’s not coed and there’s a high school impact as far as going onto college for athletic scholarships, we, as, I, I, I can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t agree that it might not be fair if a biological male competed against a female in a sport,” Meyer said.
Devine interrupted a few times — saying “gosh, really, what a surprise” when Meyer said there is a different body structure to men and women. When Meyer said she didn’t think anyone would not agree it “might not be fair” if a biological male competed against a female in a sport, Devine said “might not, I’d say yeah that is a certainty.”
Meyer said she disagreed with the one piece of legislation introduced requiring an internal and external examination of all of the members on a girls’ team.
“That’s right. And that’s why that did not progress through our legislature,” she said. “That was a bill that went to the Education committee.”
Meyer said she is friends with Rep. Dustin Hite, who chairs the Education committee. And he said if that were the case, he would not put them in sports because he doesn’t want them to have to go through that type of examination.
After Meyer said she agrees that something needs to be done on the issue, but not that particular legislation, Devine asked what her idea is.
“I don’t have an idea on that,” she said. “But it has to be, it has to be so everyone on the team is not subject to internal and external examinations.”
Meyer said she didn’t know who put that in the bill and noted it could’ve been removed through the process.
Meyer then talked about the bill that went through South Dakota and was vetoed by Gov. Kristi Noem due to “certain overreaches.”
“It does have to be investigated. It does have to be, we have to have a good bill on it. Not a, um.”
“Now don’t say mean-spirited now you’re going to sound like a Democrat,” Devine said.
“Well, you know what, I always look at these issues when we’re talking about, um, uh, this is a type of social issue I believe and I do always wonder about the people who introduce these and I always think what would Jesus do,” she asked. “Would Jesus treat people differently because of anything about them?”
“Jesus would say be who I made you,” Devine said.
“Would he,” Meyer asked.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure,” Devine said.
Meyer said she doesn’t think it is a fair competition.
“I think everyone should be able to participate in sports, but if it is a single, um, if it is a single-sex sport, uh, uh, there’s got to be some fairness to the girls. There just does,” she said. “I have no problems with transgenders competing, uh, in sports, but physically that needs to be a coed sport then. So, I don’t know. I honestly don’t have the answer. I know that there are problems. Uh, I know there are problems with this.
“And I’m gonna tell ya, I’m the last person that’s ever going to discriminate against um, uh, LGBTQ, I mean, I’m not.”
Devine asked if she thinks it is discrimination to ask that individuals identify as their birth gender.
“Well, (sigh), I don’t, I am not the expert on this subject. I just, again, I have, I have a lot of, um, from the past and present, I have a lot of uh, um, friends that are in single-sex relationships and I, I, I just can’t discriminate against that,” Meyer said.
Devine reminded her nobody is discussing single-sex relationships.
House File 184 (sponsored by Rep. Sandy Salmon), which Meyer was trying to talk about despite not seemingly knowing too much about it, did not require an internal and external examination of “all of the members on the girls team,” as Meyer said.
The bill says that if the biological sex of a student is disputed, the bill authorizes the student to establish the student’s sex by presenting a signed statement by a licensed physician that indicates the student’s sex based solely upon the student’s internal and external reproductive anatomy, the student’s normal endogenously produces levels of testosterone and an analysis of the student’s genetic makeup.
Meyer brought up a bill involving conversion therapy, but did not say what it was. Rep. Salmon also filed House File 193, which would protect the freedom of members of a profession to provide counseling in accordance with the bill and consistent with the individual’s conscience or religious belief.
LGBTQ advocates, Democrats and some Republicans have made attempts to ban conversion therapy. Conversion therapy includes taking a child who is confused about their sexual orientation or gender identity to talk with a licensed professional about this confusion. LGBTQ advocates, Democrats and some Republicans want to make that illegal unless the licensed professional affirms the confusion.