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Several organizations host online forum about transgender bills

Published: Feb. 13, 2021 at 11:00 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Several organizations came together to host an online forum called “Trans People Belong in South Dakota: a legislative recap.”

This event had speakers from the Human Rights Campaign, the Transformation Project, and the Black Hills Center for Equality come together with the ACLU.

The goal of these speakers was to serve as an educational tool for people, wanting to share how trans people not just in South Dakota, but all over the country can be affected by the bills aimed at them.

“Every year it seems that it seems like January is a really challenging time for trans individuals in our state, because of the fact that we see legislation that deals with transgender individuals every year,” said Susan Williams, Executive Director for the Transformation Project.

Many different pieces of legislation were talked about during the forum, but one bill being discussed this year, is one each organization knows all too well.

“House bill 12-17, which would bar transgender women and girls from participating on sports teams that are consistent with their gender, that is the seventh attempt by the South Dakota State Legislature to bar trans people from participating on sports teams, they keep revisiting it,” said Jett Jonelis, Advocacy Manager for the ACLU of South Dakota

Those for this bill, believe it promotes fairness in women’s sports.

While speakers from the forum believe this bill and others like it are harmful to those in the transgender community.

“There’s a statistic that says that 80 percent of Americans have never met a transgender person, and so one of our goals is to help legislators meet transgender people in their district, so that they will get to know them, hear their stories and see what kind of detriment these bills do to these individuals,” said Williams.

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