Yesterday, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard met with three transgender people, including two students, before making his decision on whether to sign HB 1008 – outrageous legislation that would prevent trans students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.
According to The Argus Leader, the meeting helped the Governor "put a human face" to the impact of HB 1008.
"It helped me see things through their eyes a little better and see more of their perspective," Daugaard told the paper.
Kendra Heathscott, a transgender woman who knew the governor from her time at the Children's Home Society, felt the meeting was a good step in educating Daugaard.
“You could tell that he’s gone out of his way to get educated about transgender folks,” Heathscott said. “He has the same strong heart that I was aware of when I was younger.”
Yesterday, HRC joined with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of South Dakota, Believe Out Loud and Reconciling Ministries, Freedom for All Americans, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Transgender Law Center to deliver over 80,000 petition signatures to Daugaard urging him to veto HB 1008. The governor has until March 1 to sign or veto the bill.
"With one stroke of his pen, Gov. Daugaard can veto this bill and stop this reckless legislation," HRC Regional Field Director Hope Errico Wisneski said.
While South Dakota would be the first state in the nation to pass legislation attacking transgender people, anti-LGBT lawmakers in other states are pursuing similar legislation. In total, 44 anti-transgender bills -- including 23 bills targeting children's’ access to restrooms and sports programs -- are pending across 16 states.
To learn more, visit HRC’s recent report, Anti-Transgender Legislation Spreads Nationwide, Bills Targeting Transgender Children Surge.
Photo c/o Jay Pickthorn