Monday, February 15, 2016

SD HB 1008

There are a series of extremely discriminatory laws that have passed the SD House of Representatives and are now up for a vote in the SD Senate. Here is a fantastic editorial from Vermillion Equalizer's managing editor David Lias about HB 1008: Between the lines: Hello, Jim Crow; Welcome to South Dakota.  

My colleague and friend Mandie Weinandt composed a sample letter to send to your SD State Senator and to Governor Daugaard, who signs all bills passed by the SD State Legislature into law. I've included it below. Please send an email ASAP! 

Who are My Legislators
Contact Govr. Daugaard

Sample letter: 
Dear Senator/ Governor <insert name>,

My name is <insert name> and I am <insert title and affiliation> from <insert town>. I am also a/an <insert relationship> to the LGBTQQIA community.

I am writing to urge you to oppose HB 1008. I am opposed to HB 1008 for a number of reasons.  First, this bill targets transgender students for systemic discrimination.  Forcing transgender students to out themselves and seek "reasonable accommodation" through official and public means is akin to painting a target on their backs.  It also sets a precedent, backed by state government that it is acceptable to single out or target individual students for not fitting a hypothetical norm as dictated by the state.  I would not want the state to dictate which elements of my being I have the right to own and which I do not; therefore, I would not want this for others.  That this bill has been sold as a "protective measure" to ensure the safety of K-12 students is an unacceptable lie to convince individuals that systemic discrimination and persecution are an acceptable means to an end.  The falsely touted negative repercussions of not passing this bill are already illegal making this bill solely to treat those the state deems unworthy differently from those the state deems socially acceptable.  

While I feel this bill should be rejected for the reasons of treating people with respect and not discriminating against a segment of our population, I would also like to point out the obvious legal and financial repercussions of passing HB 1008.  As with many bills initiated in our state legislature which target members of the LGBTQQIA community, passing HB 1008 will result in costly legal battles and nation-wide negative publicity.  Transgender students are protected by Title IX legislation and the national DOE has vowed to protect their rights.  Do we really want to put South Dakota's head on the proverbial chopping block by outing ourselves as a state who would go against federal regulation so we can discriminate against K-12 transgender students?  I hope this is not the case.


Member of the transgender community are active citizens and contributors to our state and communities.  To be accepted for who they are and not have to face constant persecution is a hope transgender persons face every day.  These brave souls have no malicious intent and no hidden agenda.  Their only hope is to live a full life as who they truly are without having to hide, lie, or be treated as though they do not have rights.

I am asking you to please oppose for HB 1008.

Sincerely,
<your name>

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