The Ruthless and Endless Attacks on the LGBT Community

Article reposed from Argus Leader March 20, 2015 by Thomas Christiansen

The purpose of our Legislature is to pass laws to make South Dakota a better, safer, healthier place to live. However, some have made it their goal to use the legislative process to place roadblocks in the path of the LGBT community and then to watch them stumble and fall. In this pursuit, several outrageous bills were introduced this session that appear to be motivated by animosity toward the LGBT community in our great state.

Two of these bills, HB1161 and HB1195, were targeting transgender students by attempting to void the inclusive policy passed by the South Dakota High School Activities Association. Both bills had fair, thorough hearings of several hours and were defeated. HB1195 was actually defeated twice — once in committee, and once during a “smoke out” on the floor of the Senate.

Sadly, that wasn’t the end. This bad bill was hoghoused back in by stripping another bill of its contents and replacing it with the defeated bill, as one last desperate attempt to further single out and stigmatize transgender youth.

My question, after following this legislative session, is when will it stop? When will some in our Legislature move past this misunderstanding and sometimes hatred of the LGBT community? I hope that in the future the legislators open their eyes and see that LGBT South Dakotans are just like them. We live in this state, too; we’re your neighbors, your friends, your family members and your coworkers. We want the very same thing that all South Dakotans do — to be treated with dignity and respect.

I hope that we can all come together as South Dakotans to end these ruthless and seemingly endless attacks on the LGBT community by our Legislature.


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