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Descendant of Early SD Republican Urges Daugaard to Veto Anti-Trans Potty Bill

Roy Steele blogs about LGBT civil rights from San Francisco under the banner Jive in the 415. Steele grew up in New Jersey, but he has roots in Redfield, South Dakota. His Republican great-grandfather Charles Tisdale Howard was South Dakota’s first U.S. Attorney and fourth Speaker of the House.

Steele thus has a double interest in asking Governor Dennis Daugaard to veto House Bill 1008, the anti-trans potty bill. In an open letter to our Governor, Steele says HB 1008 is based on “propaganda and misinformation” from anti-LGBT groups determined “to demonize transgender people.” Steele rejects the bill sponsors’ assertions that they are acting the best interest of children:

…I must urge you to veto HB 1008, because signing this bill would subject young school-age South Dakotans to increased scrutiny which will negatively impact their lives. This bill endangers their physical safety, health, mental health and personal privacy [Roy Steele, open letter to Governor Dennis Daugaard, 2016.02.25].

Steele feels compelled by his family history and upbringing to stand up for the children whom HB 1008 would oppress:

Rep. Charles Tisdale Howard of Redfield married Eugenia Beecher, and they named their fourth child Harriet (my grandmother) after Eugenia’s favorite aunt Harriet Beecher Stowe. When Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe for the first time, it was reported that he said: “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

Charles and Eugenia Howard had four children, nine grandchildren, and twenty-six great-grandchildren. They had no way of knowing that they would have two gay great-grandchildren and that one would be an LGBT activist.

From Harriet Beecher Stowe to Charles and Eugenia Howard, to Admiral Roy A. Gano and Harriet Howard Gano (my grandparents), to my own parents, it was instilled in me to not be disaffected, and to fight for what’s right and what I believe in. That’s why I’m writing and sharing my story in this letter.

If HB 1008 is enacted, how much will it cost the state of South Dakota? The loss in federal funds, the cost of lengthy litigation, and the possibility that every public building would have to build and construct additional restrooms to accommodate the law, makes the cost prohibitive. If you add in the human cost, and the damage the bill inflicts on LGBT people, the cost increases more [Steele, 2016.02.25].

Governor Dennis Daugaard has until Tuesday to veto HB 1008.


  1. jim kopecky 2016-02-29 02:28

    Is your paper going to report on the biggest fraud in history? The Bar association has been sued and lost. Why is the media not reporting this? I have all the dockets the lien and what not.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-29 04:05

    Well, don’t hold out on us, Jim. Name the plaintiffs and send the details so we can start reading!

  3. Stumcfar 2016-02-29 11:18

    Statistically, what are there, 5 transgender students in all of SD, but you want to disrupt the other 99.7% to grant special rights???

  4. Jenny 2016-02-29 11:40

    What are you so afraid of, Stump, they’re are human beings also, just like and I. Please do not be afraid and you aren’t not being disrupted. You’ll still have your same restrooms for pooping and peeing.

  5. Jenny 2016-02-29 11:43

    Just like you and I. (I meant). Honestly, why are people so afraid of transgenders? They are lovely human beings.

  6. Jenny 2016-02-29 11:48

    What group of people will SD target next? Will some parents start complaining to their legislators about their daughters and sons having to unclothe, or pee and poop next to muslim students?

  7. Caz 2016-02-29 13:13

    Just to clarify–The bill doesn’t grant “special rights” to anyone. It attempts to DENY rights to people and force them to use the bathroom that’s on their birth certificates. Legislation in search of a problem that doesn’t exist. That’s why it begs to be vetoed. Find something useful to do, SD legislators.

  8. Stumcfar 2016-02-29 13:14

    Really, now you want to compare a religion to someone who was born with parts, but has a mental illness. You liberals can’t stay on point ever, always needing to make apples to oranges comparisons. It has always been and still is wrong to have a man using a woman’s bathroom and vice versa, no matter what your liberal mind might want.

  9. Jenny 2016-02-29 13:38

    Do you value all human beings, Stub? Or just someone that fits your image of what a male or female should look like?

  10. Stumcfar 2016-02-29 13:55

    I know what male and female look like. If you do not, I suggest an anatomy class. I value all life, that is why .3% of the population with a mental illness should not govern the other 99.7%. Get them help and not special bathroom privileges.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-29 14:00

    When Donald Trump said “I love poor uneducated voters”, he must have been talking about Stump.

  12. Jenny 2016-02-29 14:13

    What about a man that has supernumerary breasts, does he need these special accommodations also, Stub? Or women with two uteruses or none at all. Is she still a woman to you? Or a woman with a vaginal congenital deformity? There are all real medical diagnoses.
    Do we really want to go down this path? Of having the school decide what makes a male or female?
    Or what about men with micropenises where a penis sticks out less than a woman’s vagina? Should this really be anybody’s business except the person themselves and their doctor?

  13. Roy Steele 2016-02-29 14:14

    Stumcfar – this legislation doesn’t extend “special rights” to anyone. It singles out a small group of people to tar and feather them. Transgender South Dakotans do not suffer from mental illness, and this bill creates a problem where none existed before. The cost to taxpayers in South Dakota is prohibitive, and the human cost is beyond measure. This isn’t a liberal versus conservative issue, this is a humanitarian issue. What’s conservative about a law that targets a small minority for discrimination, creates a bureaucracy to micromanage citizen’s private restroom habits, and costs over $200 million dollars that the state can’t afford. That’s not conservative or Republican, it’s downright fascist. And Jenny’s right – who will they come for next? I’ll tell you…..if not Muslim’s it will be gay people.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-29 15:10

    Everyone deserves equal rights, even minorities of one. The statistical angle of Stu’s argument is offensive to pluralistic democracy.

    Stu also just likes to throw punches. No one’s gender identity is a mental illness.

  15. mike from iowa 2016-02-29 16:27

    Stump is behind the times. Ever seen a horseless carriage,Bud? Stump is another Trump. Claims to not know David Duke and says he has never heard of the KKK. Hey sport,nowadays you can buy breach loading weapons with rifled barrels and pointy tipped bullets shaped like your tin foil hat,dude.

  16. mike from iowa 2016-02-29 17:27

    It is Leap Year. Maybe Stumpy the lemming lept off the face of the Earth and is in free fall.

  17. Kim Wright 2016-03-01 18:46

    This is a very impressive request to Daugaard….thanks for sharing!

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-01 22:01

    Glad to share—and glad to know it may have helped us win!

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