LGBTQ issues

Rep. Chris Karr, R-Sioux Falls, on the House floor during the 2023 legislative session at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber, South Dakota Searchlight)

Senate committee kills ‘lewd or lascivious’ drag show bill

BY: - February 28, 2023

A bill that would ban “lewd or lascivious” content at state institutions and public schools died in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday morning. The bill, introduced by Rep. Chris Karr, R-Sioux Falls, previously passed the House with a 60-10 vote. It was amended in a House committee to allow the South Dakota Board of […]

Gov. Kristi Noem receives applause in the House chamber at the state Capitol in Pierre during her 2023 State of the State Address. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Noem signs transgender youth health care ban into law

BY: - February 13, 2023

Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill into law Monday that would ban some forms of health care for transgender youth. HB 1080 is dubbed the “Help Not Harm” Bill by proponents. When it takes effect July 1, it will ban health care professionals who treat transgender children from prescribing drugs such as puberty blockers and […]

Samantha Chapman, of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, testifies in opposition to House Bill 1125 in the House State Affairs Committee on Feb. 13, 2023. (Makenzie Huber, South Dakota Searchlight)

Bills limiting drag shows: Committee passes one, tables another

BY: - February 13, 2023

PIERRE — The House State Affairs Committee tabled one bill that would limit drag performances in South Dakota but passed a related bill Monday morning. The first bill, HB 1125, would expand obscenity laws to include drag shows and prohibit exposing children to such performances. The bill was tabled after a failed motion to pass […]

The Senate floor in the South Dakota Capitol at Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Lawmakers send transgender youth health care ban to Noem’s desk

BY: - February 9, 2023

South Dakota legislators sent a bill to Gov. Kristi Noem’s desk Thursday that would ban some forms of health care for transgender youth.  Noem will now decide whether to sign the bill into law. She previously expressed support for the legislation.  Supporters said the bill would protect children and parents from making decisions they might […]

Rep. Bethany Soye, R-Sioux Falls, speaks on Jan. 17, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre about a bill she introduced to ban some forms of health care for transgender youth. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

Transgender youth health care ban passes another committee

BY: - February 8, 2023

A bill that would ban some forms of health care for transgender youth passed the state Senate Health and Human Services committee 4-2 Wednesday at the Capitol in Pierre, after testimony similar to earlier hearings. Senators Sydney Davis, R-Burbank; Michael Diedrich, R-Rapid City; Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen; and Erin Tobin, R-Winner, all voted to pass the […]

Rep. Bethany Soye, R-Sioux Falls, speaks on Jan. 17, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre about a bill she introduced to ban some forms of health care for transgender youth. (Joshua Haiar/SD Searchlight)

New bill would ban several forms of transgender health care for youth

BY: - January 17, 2023

PIERRE – A group of South Dakota Republicans introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit physicians from providing some services to transgender youth. A Democratic legislator and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota immediately condemned the bill, which the ACLU labeled as “discriminatory.” Rep. Bethany Soye, R-Sioux Falls, introduced the “Help Not Harm […]

Jack Fonder is the community health worker for The Transformation Project in Sioux Falls. He was hired in September 2022. (Courtesy of Jack Fonder)

Transgender employee at center of contract controversy pledges to fight on

BY: - December 30, 2022

Jack Fonder trusted his doctor. He’d spent years under her care, and she understood his medical history. But that changed when he transitioned. “It was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had,” he recalled. Fonder is a transgender man – a person whose gender identity is as a man, but was assigned female sex […]

A protester displays a sign at the "Stop Criminalizing Trans Existence" protest in Sioux Falls on Feb. 1, 2020. The protest was in response to bills introduced during the 2020 legislative session. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Transformation Project calls termination of state contract ‘unwarranted’

BY: - December 20, 2022

A nonprofit advocacy organization for transgender South Dakotans says it has fulfilled its contractual obligations with the state and is calling the state’s termination of the contract “unwarranted.” In a letter Friday, Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration terminated its contract with The Transformation Project, alleging numerous contract violations committed by the group. Meanwhile, the governor’s spokesman […]

Gov. Kristi Noem delivers her annual budget address Dec. 6, 2022, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/SD Searchlight)

Noem terminates contract for transgender advocacy group

BY: and - December 19, 2022

Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration issued contradictory reasons for terminating a transgender advocacy group’s contract with the state Department of Health. A Friday letter from the department alleged numerous contract violations committed by the group, while the governor’s spokesman told the conservative media outlet that first reported on the letter that Noem does not support the […]

Matthew Haynes, the owner of Club Q, hugs Michael Anderson, a survivor of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, after speaking at the House Oversight Committee hearing titled "The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States" at the Rayburn House Office Building on Dec. 14, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Club Q survivors at U.S. House hearing denounce anti-LGBTQ rhetoric

BY: - December 15, 2022

Survivors of a deadly attack at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs and other advocates told a U.S. House panel Wednesday that political rhetoric and policy fights dehumanize LGBTQ people and contribute to such violence. Democrats and Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee largely sympathized with the survivors, but drew different conclusions […]

Some members of the audience applaud a speaker (not pictured) during a Dec. 8, 2022, Board of Regents meeting at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/SD Searchlight)

Critics berate regents about drag show, and senator pledges to bring legislation

BY: - December 8, 2022

After the leader of the state’s university system announced “process improvements” in response to controversy about a recent drag show, critics denounced the handling of the show and a state senator pledged legislation to address it. The show took place Nov. 16 at South Dakota State University in Brookings. Some commenters on social media praised […]