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On the Ground in South Dakota, with Hundreds Mobilizing Against HB 1008


The sense of urgency is palpable here in South Dakota. Over the next couple of days, I am in Sioux Falls and heading to the state capital Pierre tomorrow, fighting alongside local advocates for our last chance to stop HB 1008, a bill targeting trans students, from becoming law.

Last week, HB 1008 became the first anti-trans bill in the nation to EVER pass through a state legislature. Now, all our focus is on Governor Daugaard. Once the bill reaches his desk—and that can be any day now—the governor will have just five days to sign or veto the bill.

This bill has prompted a groundswell of outrage among South Dakotans, who are calling on the governor to be the backstop to this attack bill. This past Saturday, more than hundred people gathered in Sioux Falls for a rally organized by a Lincoln High School senior to demand the governor’s veto. And tomorrow, local advocates, including the Center for Equality, will bring South Dakotans from all over the state to the capital to send the message that they will not tolerate government-mandated discrimination in their state, and several trans people and parents of trans youth will meet with the governor in person to share with him the devastating human impact this bill would have.

NCTE has been mobilizing against this bill for the last several weeks and now we only have a few days to stop this bill from being signed into law. Here’s what we need to do now:

  • Urge Governor Daugaard to veto this bill. If you’re in South Dakota, you can use NCTE’s action page and sample message, or email or call (605.773.3212) his office directly.
  • Join the Trans Kids Support Visibility Day tomorrow (Tuesday, February 23). The event will take place in the State Capitol in Pierre (500 East Capitol Avenue) at 12-2pm CST. There’s a bus leaving from Sioux Falls at 8am, and transportation may be available from other parts of the state. Contact the Center for Equality ASAP for more information.
  • Spread the word to your friends in South Dakota and around the country. We need trans people and our allies in every state to put pressure on Governor Daugaard and prevent hate bills from advancing in South Dakota and everywhere else.
  • Follow the advocates in Pierre tomorrow. The ACLU of SD will be tweeting @ACLUSD. And I will be tweeting @MaraKeisling.

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