South Dakota Governor Dauggard met with transgender students on Tuesday, February 23rd, just days before he needs to make a decision on signing an extreme, anti-transgender bill (HB 1008) that would require students to undergo DNA, Birth Certificate, or genital checks and force them to use restrooms and facilities that do not match the gender they live every day. South Dakota would become the first state to enact such a law if he signs it.
The Governor told the Argus Leader that the meeting helped put a “human face” on the transgender community, and that “It helped me see things through their eyes a little better and see more of their perspective.” Earlier this month, he noted that he had never met a transgender person.
Thomas Lewis, 18, and Kendra Heathscott, 22, were present for the meeting and said that the Governor was very gracious.
Just days before, Heathscott participated in a summit hosted by Transgender Law Center in Oakland where Equality Federation’s Director of Communications, Mark Snyder, trained about 20 transgender community leaders on storytelling, messaging, and other communications strategies. Jill Marcellus of Transgender Law Center, Danni Askini of Gender Justice League, and Vincent Villano of From Freedom for All Americans, co-facilitated the day of communications workshops.
From the moment the bill was introduced, Equality Federation has been offering support to South Dakota’s transgender and allied communities through our Legislative Action Center which helps us target theright people, with the right message, at the right time. With our new set of tools, we’re able to support local groups like Equality South Dakota to use their resources in a more cost effective and strategic way.
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