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More Than Bullying: Governor’s Office Casts Transgender Americans as Terrorists

House State Affairs approved Senate Bill 46 today on an 11–2 vote. SB 46 is Governor Kristi Noem’s unconstitutional bill seeking to distract us from her stunning failure to govern and ban transgender kids from school sports.

But never mind unconstitutional; in testimony supporting SB 46 today, Noem’s out-of-state legal hack Mark Miller unconscionably likened transgender people to terrorists:

Following public testimony in the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Mark Miller, interim chief of staff and legal counsel to Noem, told lawmakers that even though the state has seen only one transgender girl perform during the last decade, the goal of the measure is preventative.

“It’s sort of like terrorism,” Miller said. “You see it over there, and don’t want it to get to here” [Christopher Vondracek, “Noem’s Lawyer Compares Transgender Sports Participation to Terrorism,” Worthington Globe, 2022.01.26].

Miller’s statement exceeds the constant bullying to which the Governor and Republican legislators subject transgender South Dakotans. Miller here takes the same dangerous tack as Donald Trump and the Big Liars: not simply lying, but casting their fabricated threat as something so dangerous that it may warrant radical, even violent responses. Where’s Trump’s Big Lie about election fraud makes redneck voters think they may storm the Capitol, hang Mike Pence, and overturn an election and the Constitution, Miller’s big lie makes certain South Dakotans think it’s o.k. to treat transgender kids as terrorists.

If transgender kids playing basketball are sort of like terrorism, Mr. Miller, then do you propose that our response should be sort of like Guantánamo? Round up the transgender kids, ship them off to reëducation camps, protect us from their terrorism and torture them to give up their evil ways?

We have Republican legislators and candidates for public office in South Dakota making excuses for genuine terrorists who attacked police and democracy on January 6, 2021, but those Republicans and their Governor will countenance the claim that transgender kids playing basketball post a terrorist threat that we must keep out of South Dakota.

Words matter. As a lawyer, Mr. Miller has made a career of choosing words that matter. His statement to House State Affairs this morning was no slip. The Noem Administration wants to fuel the fire of transgender hate. Miller and Noem want South Dakotans to think it is o.k. to do far more than bully transgender kids. Miller and Noem want transgender people to feel such oppression and terror in South Dakota that they decide they cannot live comfortably or freely here and just go away.

Who are the real terrorists? It’s not transgender kids trying to play basketball.


  1. 96Tears 2022-01-26

    Mark Miller needs to be fired. Now. If anybody is a terrorist, it is Mark Miller and his ruthless, baseless lies to hurt people who are not exactly like him. Sickening!

  2. Mark Anderson 2022-01-26

    Well if your going to bully someone, pick the one kid in the state who wants to play sports. Brave little boys the Mark Millers aren’t they? This so important for the state isn’t it? You know they have to protect those poor girls. Come on kristi, you’ll never make VP unless you do something original

  3. chris 2022-01-26

    Are the interests pushing this agenda involved in illegal betting on SDHS sports games ? Does anything else explain it?

  4. Jenny 2022-01-26

    Tomorrow I will making my annual rounds informing MPR, Twin Cities Pride and other MN news media about this year’s trangender hate bill the Pubs in SD have introduced. It saddens me having to do this every year.
    To all Legislators in Pierre that vote for hate every year, please don’t think a well run boycott of SD by gay friendly Minnesotans would never happen. There are many many LGBTQ supporters and activists here that take such toxic discrimination seriously and wouldn’t hesitate for one second to boycott South Dakota.

  5. Guy 2022-01-26

    Jenny, please do get the word out. What was spoken today in Pierre reminds me of the veiled segregationist language from those in power during the civil rights movement, case in point and in his own words: Mark Miller said, “You see it over there, and don’t want it to get to here”. That is what the segregationists said about people “over there” and the segregationists did not want those people “to get to here”.

  6. Neal 2022-01-26

    Trans women (formerly men) should not play women’s sports. The fact that you don’t see this is precisely why the democrats have completely evaporated in this state. You’re risibly out of touch with what the vast majority of Americans believe about this.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-26

    Elected leaders should not liken innocent American citizens to terrorists for wanting to play basketball.

    Neal, you are risibly out of touch with human rights. “Fairness” in a kids game is a sham covering the deep and angry hate you and Noem feel toward people who are different from you. What next: is the 6’6″ girl from the next town over who dunks on everybody making basketball unfair? Are you going to call all the big kids terrorists and make them into criminals just because they beat your little team?

  8. Mark Anderson 2022-01-26

    Well Neal how about beauty contests? You remind me of Chris Evert, when a trans played tennis. She said many of the lesser men players might be tempted to the knife and play women’s tennis. Pretty silly. Feel sorry for her now and hope she recovers. Same for you.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-27

    I wonder if any Snow Queen contestants thought it was unfair that someone so unusually pretty and talented as Kristi Noem was allowed to enter the pageant in 1990 and blow them away in the competition. I wonder if any of those defeated aspirants asked their legislators to pass laws to prevent like Kristi Noem with too much beauty from competing in pageants.

    Noem and Miller are pressing unconscionable discrimination with violence-inducing rhetoric over the most inconsequential matter of who scores how many points in a basketball game. Jockocracy + potty panic are making for the absolute worst government.

  10. larry kurtz 2022-01-27

    Why anyone is shocked by Miller’s remarks is a mystery. Republican is simply another word for Trump, Mitch McConnell is an apologetic racist and Kristi Noem makes Snow White look Jamaican. All of a sudden it looks like every member of the extreme white wing of the Republican seem infinitely unelectable.

  11. Jake 2022-01-27

    This bunch of goons in charge of SD gov’t are going further and faster ‘off the rails’! Don’t be surprised if they try to jerk these unwanted kids away from their families and put them into gulag-like institutions where they are taught their “true” identity as viewed by the republican party. Just as we white race did to the Indian children 100 years ago and less.
    I love the comparisons to a beauty contest, Cory! Our society is so bent on being focused on the wrong things; sports for instance and ‘winning’ at any cause. It’s what got the former POTUS elected by the Electoral College, not the people themselves. Forty some years ago I was shocked at seeing how some adults were so trying to live their lives or identity thru their poor kid’s lives playing in competitive sports. It has only gotten worse, I think. Kids learn what they live.

  12. 96Tears 2022-01-27

    “I just couldn’t take the crazy any longer. I couldn’t take the effort wasted on legislation that’s designed to bully and hurt. I couldn’t muster the vigor it takes to write objectively about resolutions that are good for nothing more than political posturing.”

    Those were the words printed on New Year’s Eve from mild-mannered reporter Dana Hess on why he won’t waste his time and sanity filing news reports from the S.D. Legislature. If it weren’t for the fact that these fools pass laws that can hurt the citizens of this state, it would be easy to ignore this kind of lunacy. The voters can stop this anytime they want. Right?

  13. Guy 2022-01-27

    96 Tears, I have an idea that would majorly change Pierre and its priorities. Currently we all know the South Dakota takes more federal dollars than it puts into the pot, so, we basically have other states subsidizing this state. If Congress were to change that and South Dakota only received as many federal dollars is it actually puts in, then that would force the state legislature to focus more of their time and energy on bread-and-butter issues to the benefit of all citizens and the citizens would demand it.
    That won’t happen until our federal funding is dramatically reduced. When it is reduced, then, the Legislature and the Governor will not have the luxury of time or extra money to spend on “hurtful” legislation and these pet projects and boondoggles favored by a privileged few in this state. Then -and only then – would we actually have to become the true fiscally conservative state that we’ve been preaching to others all these years.

  14. Porter Lansing 2022-01-27

    I witnessed racial integration combine Black only swimming pools with white only swimming pools in the late 60’s in Florida.
    – Maybe mixed sports teams of all varieties are the answer to bigots like Governor Noem?
    – I’ll wager (and I often do) that a mixed basketball team could be formed in Sioux Falls that could beat most rural town teams, composed of all males or all females.

  15. 96Tears 2022-01-27

    Guy – There are solutions to the north and the south. North Dakota’s legislature meets only on odd-numbered years. Why not South Dakota? They don’t work on solving real problems in Pierre, just the imaginary ones that produce solutions searching for problems. Nebraska has 49 Senators, no House. The unicameral is nonpartisan, which makes litmus test primaries based on party platforms less meaningful in Nebraska. There is certainly a lot more respect for the legislature and the legislative process in Nebraska than in South Dakota. The last thing Republicans in Pierre want is for the general public to know what’s going on.

  16. buckobear 2022-01-27

    Republickans aren’t interested in governing; they only want to rule.

  17. Arlo Blundt 2022-01-27

    Well..I’m once again in sympathy with grudznick…help my soul…but who is this bum??? this Miller guy??? where’d he come from?? He’s making well over a hundred grand to put out total nonsense on behalf of the Governor. As a fact, there has been one transgender person in South…who has competed in an athletic event and inspired all this legislation and Republican propaganda. The issue in that case was handled, nicely, by the South Dakota High School Activities Association. Now we have to pay some goon from way, way out of state to come in and lecture us for being kind and civilized. Doesn’t Governor Noem know anyone from South Dakota that she could hire for these positions??? Is she that out of touch with the state???

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