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Open Letter to South Dakota Lawmakers: All I Want Is to Feel Safe in My Home State

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February 19, 2016
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Lambda Legal client Corinne McCreery

Lambda Legal client Corinne McCreery won a landmark settlement from her former employer, who had fired Cori after she informed him that she was taking steps to transition from male to female while at work. Read her story.

Dear South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Members of the South Dakota Legislature:

I was born in and lived most of my life in South Dakota, but I don’t live there anymore. I haven’t in about a year and a half. But South Dakota will always have a place in my heart as my home state.

That’s why my heart hurts every time I see a piece of news about hateful or intolerant legislation being proposed in my home state. Since I don’t live there anymore, I don’t have a legislator of my own to write to, so I’m addressing all of you. 

I left South Dakota because I no longer felt safe in the state that I had spent 26 of my first 30 years in. I no longer felt like the state wanted me to be there. And part of that is because of you.

You continue, year after year, to file legislation that makes South Dakota unfriendly, unwelcoming, and hateful towards people that just want to be accepted by their friends, family and neighbors. This is the third straight year in which legislation has been brought to allow legal discrimination against minorities based on religion.

As someone who lost a job because an employer was bigoted towards me, that hurts me personally. He claimed it would hurt his business to employ a transgender employee. I’d like to ask him now, and you all as well, how much business the store I work at now loses due to me being transgender. That answer is: none at all. While I’ve been employed at this store, sales and profits have increased.

Hate is not a South Dakota value. Hate is not a Christian value, but you’d like to make us think that. Jesus preached peace, you say that instead he’d be okay with you denying services to people because you don’t believe that they deserve to live the same lives you do. 

And not only have you brought up legislation to allow discrimination against employees and customers who fall on the LGBT spectrum, you have also targeted transgender teens specifically. You want to ban them from activities, and worse, ban them from using the bathroom safely.

I go into bathrooms for one reason and one reason only. I don’t go in to peep on other women. I don’t go in to be a predator. I go in to use the facilities, wash my hands and leave. All I want to do is pee in peace — something I’m sure you understand.

Using fear tactics that have been proven false over and over again to sway public opinion is downright dangerous to people like me. That’s something that your fear based hate bills increase. 

I want to be proud of my home state. I really do. I want to bring the man I love home and show him what I love about the state. That won’t happen if any of these bills pass.

Sincerely,
Corinne McCreery

Visit Know Your Rights: Transgender.