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Urgent Action Needed in South Dakota

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February 19, 2016
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There are currently four bills targeting the LGBT community pending in South Dakota, three of which are especially harmful to transgender people. One is urgent and three others are up next.

South Dakota Residents:

Tell Gov. Dennis Daugaard to veto House Bill 1008.

Call 605-773-3212 today!

House Bill 1008 – The bill, which will soon go to Gov. Daugaard’s desk for his signature or veto, would make South Dakota the first state in the nation to enact legislation prohibiting transgender students in public schools from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity. This is a vicious attack against some of the most vulnerable members of our community, plain and simple. It subjects young people, who are already navigating the pressures of adolescence, to additional isolation, stress, and bullying.

Up next:

  • House Bill 1107 – Allowing any recipient of taxpayer funds or other state recognition to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, and single mothers. This bill is a religious refusal law, or RFRA, that would allow South Dakotans to use religion and other moral convictions as a way to harm LGBT people and exclude them from vital services.
  • House Bill 1112 – Effectively excluding all transgender young people from participating in high school sports and activities by tying participation to the sex listed on a young person’s birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.
  • House Bill 1209 – Requiring government entities to accept information about a person on their birth certificate even if that information is incorrect. This bill is a clear attack on both transgender youth and adults because it would accept as true both the name and gender marker on a person’s birth certificate into perpetuity.

Although the word Dakota is Sioux for "friend" or "ally," the South Dakota legislature continues to show that it is anything but a friend to transgender people in particular and LGB people generally. Clearly, it is becoming increasingly dangerous for our community to live there, visit, or even to travel through the state.  

Tellingly, the bill targeting transgender students’ bathroom use was promoted and orchestrated by anti-LGBT groups with extensive track records targeting our community. In fact, these organizations have promised to provide pro bono legal representation to the State if this bill becomes law and is then challenged in court. Despite opposition from educators, parents, and students, this bill is only days away from becoming one of the most hateful, anti-trans laws in the country.

We must show the State of South Dakota and the groups fueling these legislative efforts that an attack against any member of our community is an attack against us all. Our opponents will only become more desperate in the face of progress, which is why we must be vigilant now more than ever. From high schools to hospices, from the Badlands to the Bay, we must come together as friends and allies to protect against injustice for all those who are persecuted because of who they are or who they love.

South Dakota Residents:

Tell Gov. Dennis Daugaard to veto House Bill 1008.

Call 605-773-3212 today!

P.S. Read more from Corinne McCreery, a transgender woman and former Lambda Legal client, who has written an open letter to the South Dakota legislature. It is a heart-breaking letter from a native South Dakotan who desperately wants her home state to do the right thing, and yet despairing of its ability to do so.