South Dakota’s Transphobic Legislation Triggers Legal Backlash

An apology is usually something that comes from the heart. Many individuals can recall growing up as children and having a time where adults made them facilitate an apology. Whether over a broken toy of hurt feeling, the apology usually patched the issue.

Childhood Lessons

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This lesson as kids helped many grow to become individuals who knew how to properly take ownership over their actions and words. However, some adults have not and still don’t understand one of the core lessons needed to grow in childhood.

Say It, Don’t Mean It

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Inauthentic apologizers often walk amongst the public, frequently disguised in the bureaucratic celebrity role of politician. Common as it is in the time of cancel culture, many politicians have been coerced into expressing regret for uncouth comments.

All Fired Up

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One such politician is the controversial South Dakota Governor: Kristi Noem. Noem has made a name for herself in recent political history, but maybe not for the greatest reasons. Her staunch conservatism and fiery rhetoric has sparked outlash from a variety of demographics.

A Costly Mistake

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As of last year, the governor found herself in even deeper hot water than usual. Noem had been demanded to issue a public and formal apology letter. The letter of omission was also coupled with a required $300,000 payment to The Transformation Project.

Fighting for Rights

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The Transformation Project is an upstanding organization that fights for trans rights in order to provide fair and equal access to gender affirming care. This came after a sudden defunding of a certain  Department of Health contract back during 2022.

Federal Fumble

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The contract in question encompassed a variety of opportunities to further healthcare services within the state of South Dakota. The contract, which was federally funded, contained a specialized section on supporting community health worker positions for the queer community. 

Canceling Too Late 

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Gov. Noem, who has gained notoriety from bashing the queer community via her professional platform, has sprinkled on additional public upset. Noem had the pivotal $136,000 contract canceled back at the end of 2022. 

Target on Their Back

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Susan Williams, who is the executive director of the Transformation Project, launched her own campaign against Noem’s inaction to employ the contract’s details. Williams noted that the Transformation Project faced attention described as “overwhelming and difficult,”.

Bias on Trial

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As a result of the Governor’s tragic lack of understanding, Williams and her organization took the case to court. The lawsuit centered around evidence brought in by the Transformation Project, which claimed Noem acted out of prejudicial motives.

Feigning Federal Responsibility

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The strategy of the defense was made through a plea of ignorance, stating that Noem was unaware that the contract even existed. However, the prosecution provided evidence in the form of Noem’s comments on trans people.

Can’t Show Face

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 Noem strategized to have her spokesperson Ian Fury deliver her response to the prosecution’s evidence in court. While sympathizers may speculate about her busy calendar, local activists could interpret her absence to be a less than stellar move, suggesting cowardice.

Backtrack to Nowhere

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In attempts to backtrack, the state of South Dakota counterclaimed that The Transformation Project existing was grounds enough to not need the contract. The counterclaim was not enough to persuade the presiding judge.

Letter Excerpt

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Noem’s brief letter read as follows: “On behalf of the State of South Dakota, I apologize that the Transformation Project’s contract was terminated and for treating the Transformation Project differently than other organizations awarded Community Health Worker contracts,”. 

Case Closed

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The case ruled in favor of The Transformation Project, requiring the state to not discriminate against the organization. Additionally, the case resulted in a settlement of $300,000, roughly twice the amount of the original contract pricing. 

Victory Cry

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Williams made a public statement after winning the case, “We are vindicated as the government has acknowledged what we knew the very day we learned of our contract’s cancellation: that we did not break any procedures and we did not fail to meet the terms of the CHW contract,” 

A Beacon for Hope

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While support for the trans community may be lacking in some areas of the US, cases like this signify a stronger backing of trans rights within the court system. With more time and progress, cases like this can stand as a pillar for similar cases to come.

The post South Dakota’s Transphobic Legislation Triggers Legal Backlash first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.