The Advocate has named two “Champions of Pride” representing South Dakotans fighting for the right to love differently and be different. Alas, one has already left South Dakota:
“To put it simply, being LGBTQ+ In South Dakota sucks,” Elliot Vogue said.
The 18-year-old Vogue is transgender and spent most of his high school years fighting against anti-LGBTQ legislation in Pierre.
…For Vogue, who now lives in Iowa, it’s hard to find a place to live that isn’t attacking transgender youth.
“I don’t know where I see myself ending up honestly. It seems like everywhere is trying to drive trans people out,” Vogue said [Jazzmine Jackson, “Teen Activists Fight for LGBTQ Equality in South Dakota,” KELO-TV, 2022.06.10].
…and the other is strongly inclined to follow:
Like Vogue, Alex said the anti-LGBTQ sentiments and legislation make him want to leave South Dakota to find a place that is more welcoming and safer.
“I want to call South Dakota home, I really do,” Alex said. “But every time I talk about it, I mostly just go into how much it sucks. Because, in full honesty besides like the Transformation Project and a couple other LGBTQ things, there’s no redeeming qualities at this point” [Jackson, 2022.06.10].
Kristi Noem’s anti-change rhetoric is working. Her hostility and bullying are driving away those who do not conform to her and her party’s Whitopian norms.