LISTEN: Transgender Teenager in South Dakota Urges Governor to Veto Damaging BillBy Adam Polaski • February 24, 2016 • 8:51 am
On Tuesday, February 23, Governor Dennis Daugaard met – for the first time ever – with transgender South Dakotans who worked to show him the real people who would be hurt by the harmful HB 1008, a bill specifically designed to target transgender children, prohibiting them from using the restroom or other facilities of the gender with which they identify. The bill landed on Gov. Daugaard’s desk yesterday after it had passed in the South Dakota House and Senate – and now, Gov. Daugaard has five days to veto the bill, or it becomes law.
“It helped me see things through their eyes a little better and see more of their perspective,” Daugaard said about the meeting with the transgender students.
One of the students was Thomas Wayne Lewis, who has been outspoken about the long-term damage of the exclusionary, unprecedented bill: If it becomes law, South Dakota will be the first in the state to pass such a terrible bill. Thomas is working with the ACLU of South Dakota to fight back against this legislation.
Earlier this month, Thomas – a transgender 18-year-old who said his teachers call him by his proper name and use the correct pronouns – testified before South Dakota lawmakers urging them to reject the bill. “This law means that no matter what people might think at school, how they might accept me at school, the state doesn’t,” he later told The Associated Press.
Listen to Thomas’ testimony below:
Elected officials – including the Governor – in South Dakota and in dozens of other states considering anti-LGBT legislation must take a stand against dangerous bills like H.B. 1008. Furthermore, these states must advance even further, passing affirmative protections for the LGBT community and ensuring that no one faces discrimination because of who they are or who they love.