Rally held to protest policies aimed at transgender students

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Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 11:34 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - This weekend several organizations in South Dakota held protests against bills in this year’s legislative session they say are aimed at the transgender community.

Those who attended the Sioux Falls protest say they hope the day comes where these kinds of events aren’t needed. Until then, they plan to continue to come out and show their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“We feel that every individual deserves the opportunity to live as their authentic selves and reaffirm the fact that trans women are women,” said Cody Ingle, a member of Sioux Falls Pride.

“Were pulling South Dakotans together to send a message to our lawmakers that we don’t want to see these policies enacted; there bad for South Dakota, they’re bad for our communities, and they bully trans kids,” said Adam Jorgensen, of Equality South Dakota.

Speakers at the protest said seeing bills aimed at transgender students, like SB 46, which prevents transgender women and girls from participating in school sports leagues that match their gender identity, can have a negative impact on their mental health.

“Each year, kids’ mental health gets worse because they are feeling attacked, their feeling discriminated against, feeling marginalized, and not welcome in their own state,” said Susan Williams, founder of the Transformation Project.

“It signals to us that lawmakers are kind of wasting their time, we want lawmakers focusing on policies that will actually help people,” said Jorgensen.

One speaker at the rally was a transgender student, and organizers believe hearing students’ stories are essential.

“I think that hearing from the kids that this would actually affect is what legislators need. For those of us that know trans kids and know families with trans kids, it’s very crucial we get their stores out there,” said Williams.

Those in attendance were proud to stand with protesters across the state.

“I think it’s so amazing to see how this state has come together as different organizations throughout the state that really are advocating for LGBTQ+ and two-spirit rights and awareness,” said Ingle.

Organizers for this event say protesting is a great way to show your support, but the most important thing you can do is contact your local legislators to give your opinions on what’s happening in the state.

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