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Transformation Project: State’s Reasons for Canceling CHW Contract Bogus

The official reason the Department of Health gave for canceling the Transformation Project’s state contract to use federal money to fund a community health worker position was that the non-profit had failed to perform a series of contractual obligations. As I pointed out Monday, the state appeared to be holding TP responsible for not meeting certain contract obligations before it signed the contract.

TP director Susan Williams now steps out to concur with my coverage and contest the allegations in the state’s cancellation letter:

The letter also alleged that the infrastructure for the CHW program wasn’t set up, two quarterly reports weren’t filed, program success stories hadn’t been provided and that the organization didn’t participate in the CHW Collaborative of South Dakota annual conference in April 2022, even though the contract began in June.

The position hadn’t been hired until Sept. 6, Williams said, and the contract reveals that the document wasn’t signed by both parties until September.

…“To put it simply, we received a grant to establish a CHW program and we did just that,” Williams said in the open letter. “We complied with all aspects of the contract and are heartbroken at what we believe are inaccurate descriptions of our work. We are further devastated because it is patently obvious that the transgender and broader LGBQ2S community in South Dakota faces health disparities that could be improved under this grant – precisely what was intended in the first place” [Makenzie Huber, “Transformation Project Calls Termination of State Contract ‘Unwarranted’,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2022.12.20].

Governor Kristi Noem’s office was eager to respond to the national conservative media last week to signal the state’s real reason for breaching this contract, Noem’s desire to bully transgender people under the guise of protecting children from “radical ideologies”. But asked by Huber to respond to TP’s statement that the officially cited reason for cancelling the contract is hogwash, Noem’s office suddenly decides it can’t comment because there’s a “threat of pending litigation“.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-12-21 07:36

    Wars on truth, kids, the Earth and against Indigenous Americans: these are the Noem years. When money talks, Mrs. Noem blocks.

  2. Jenny 2022-12-21 07:51

    I will be sending this in to LGBTQ friendly MN Public Radio so Noem can get the publicity she so often yearns for.

  3. All Mammal 2022-12-21 09:05

    Fits right in with her officials granting permission to the town of Custer to pump all it’s wastewater into French Creek; regardless of wildlife, historical significance, tourism, experts’ warnings, residents’ objections and children swimming in the creek. Mr. Kurtz is clearly accurate when he says Gov. Noem and her party are Earth haters.

    She needs to get a life, or I will take a play from her book and tattle on her pancake fanny to the President about her embezzling that federal assistance meant for our LGBTQ2S folks who are most at risk because of our evil scab-eating governor. She picks on Uranian kids and pollutes our water; a heart doesn’t get any blacker or colder than that.

  4. R Morrison 2022-12-21 09:45

    To all the people who re-elected that callous hearted and self serving B…. Must either be totally ignorant brain dead, or really must greatly benefit financially from that person.
    Wonder what one would find when you peel her skin back. Nothing real and human about her.…. Just think, her second term has just begun.
    I can’t believe I am saying all this- it isn’t really my personality, but she makes me do this!

  5. Jake 2022-12-21 11:49

    And so we come to realize that the “FREEDOM” in South Dakota cry from the Noem governorship is just advertising enticement for more polluting enterprises to come into our state to support increased visitor’s needs (waste products)! Standards set by the governor’s recently reorganized Dept of Natural Resources (and Agriculture) are so lax that like the Big Sioux River at Sioux Falls the pristine streams of the tourist mecca of the Black Hills will soon be childhood memories; the reality will be that corporate and business interests will make these waterways intolerable to kids and fish and other aquatic. But, because we as a society value making more $$$ higher than we value leaving a cleaner place to live for all we are unwilling to spend the $$$ to do something properly if it shows the cost to out-weigh the profit of more $$$. Just re-read All Mammal’s link to the story of Custer and its sewer discharge (above). The experts (DENR and hired consultant) are hell-bent on approvals-not denials when warranted.
    Years from now, when problems are out of control, they’ll say “Whoops” we made a mistake”-“Sorry” and look for the Federal government to correct the situation as Homestake did for many, many years with cyanide in Whitewood Creek and the Belle Fouche River.
    Or, as Agent Orange is just a defoliant, “Not to worry”! in Vietnam….

  6. Janet Olson 2022-12-21 13:06

    I highly recommend a National Geographic magazine publication that focuses on Transgender issues.
    Educate yourselves on their existence and hateful treatment. Published January 2017. Special Issue: Gender Revolution.

  7. Janet Olson 2022-12-21 13:11

    Please click on post above

  8. Steve Pearson 2022-12-21 14:00

    There is nothing normal about LGBTQ+XYZ245 It is an abomination. It isn’t scientific and the “party of follow the science” is way out of left field backing this mental illness. Mankind should not normalize a clear mental illness.

  9. e platypus onion 2022-12-21 15:00

    Mental illness is pretending drumpf won the 2020 election for Potus. Mental illness is believing cutting taxes increases revenues.

  10. bearcreekbat 2022-12-21 15:30

    Steve Pearson’s comment is quite revealing. First, his statement that LGBTQ+ people are experiencing “a clear mental illness” is partially correct according to research.

    While belonging to the LGBTQI community can be a source of strength, it also brings unique challenges. For those who identify as LGBTQI, it’s important to recognize how your experience of sexual orientation and gender identity relates to your mental health.

    Although the full range of LGBTQI identities are not commonly included in large-scale studies of mental health, there is strong evidence from recent research that members of this community are at a higher risk for experiencing mental health conditions — especially depression and anxiety disorders. LGB adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition. Transgender individuals are nearly four times as likely as cisgender individuals (people whose gender identity corresponds with their birth sex) individuals to experience a mental health condition.

    LGB youth also experience greater risk for mental health conditions and suicidality. LGB youth are more than twice as likely to report experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness than their heterosexual peers. Transgender youth face further disparities as they are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms, seriously consider suicide, and attempt suicide compared to cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and questioning youth.

    Current scientific studies, however, no longer catagorize a LGBTQI identity as a mental illness.

    Homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) beginning with the first edition, published in 1952 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). . . . [I]n December 1973, the APA board of trustees voted to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. In 1974, the DSM was updated and homosexuality was replaced with a new diagnostic code for individuals distressed by their homosexuality. Distress over one’s sexual orientation remained in the manual, under different names, until the DSM-5 in 2013. . . . .

    The DSM-5, published in 2013, does not include any diagnostic category that can be applied to people based on their sexual orientation. . . . .,DSM%2D5,sexual%20orientations%20as%20mental%20disorders.

    Discrimination and exclusion, however, certainly lead to increased depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. And Steve Pearson’s use of the term “abomination” helps clarify why. Meriam-Webster explains that an abomination is:

    something regarded with disgust or hatred : something abominable
    considered war an abomination
    : extreme disgust and hatred : LOATHING

    So as Steve Pearson makes clear, his particular view of people that belong to the LGBTQI community is one of disgust, hatred and loathing, which naturally adversely affects the self-image individuals in the group that is hated, loathed and viewed with disgust. Thus, expressing such hatred, loathing and disgust, along with the overt discrimination that flows from such unfortunate attitudes and behaviors, certainly seems a cause for increased mental harm to members of the LGBTQI community.

    Apparently Kristi Noem shares Steve Pearson’s hate, disgust, and loathing. At least it would seem to be a reason for arbirarily cancelling a State contract designed to help this community deal with such discriminatory attitudes, since as a quote from Cory’s story points out, “We are further devastated because it is patently obvious that the transgender and broader LGBQ2S community in South Dakota faces health disparities that could be improved under this grant – precisely what was intended in the first place.”

    And it can’t be overlooked that the hate, disgust and loathing of members of the LGBTQI community has too often resulted in violent attacks on members of that community. I shudder when I recall the treatment of Matthew Shepard by Wyoming boys taught by their elders to hate gays. On the other hand I can recall no stories of violence by members of the LGBTQI community on people because they are members of the so-called straight community.

  11. Mark Anderson 2022-12-21 16:34

    Gosh Stevie, man is never kind, particularly Repubs. Even Republican womenkind is rather off, but I won’t disabuse you for being Republican normal. By the way 90% of scientists aren’t Republican, but thats another matter. At home here in Sarasota county Florida, Republicans are continually trying to turn back the clock. I thought they didn’t like daylight savings time but they simply don’t want to accept reality as it exists. It’s a drag I know. Speaking of that even the founder of the FBI wore women’s underwear, and who knows what the Mormons wear. Even they call themselves something else now. Sorry, God personally told Russell Nelson that his churches name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so remember that one. Mormon is gone. All these changes are confusing aren’t they. I’m not sure about mental illness but you should think about checking. You never know.

  12. P. Aitch 2022-12-21 16:48

    Pearson purposely says things that will invoke personal criticism. That’s deviant behavior.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-21 17:59

    As usual, Steve, like his goddesshead Kristi Noem, provides no evidence to support his bully rant.

    Notice that Janet and BCB provide links to evidence that refutes Steve’s claim.

    Steve thus loses twice: he fails to support his claim with any evidence, and those who disagree with him provide valid, uncontested evidence to the contrary.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-21 18:00

    The Transformation Project should definitely take Noem to court for breach of contract. Noem has a pretty weak record in court.

  15. grudznick 2022-12-21 18:04

    Bah. Much ado about nothing. We are all mentally iller than most. Especially some of you.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-21 18:09

    BCB, would it make a difference and be correct if we said that LGBTQ people suffer not from mental illness but from mental injury? Hatred from people like Steve and Kristi injures the psyches of transgender people in the same way that hatred and the actions that express it injure the physical bodies of abused women and children.

    Hatred, by the way, is not a mental illness. The expression of hatred, in Steve’s insults and Kristi’s policies, is a choice.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-12-21 18:18

    But seriously, Steve, in what ways do non-heterosexuals and transgender people injure society in a way that warrants your active hatred and the Governor’s active policy bullying?

  18. P. Aitch 2022-12-21 18:33

    Pearson only spews. He never responds.

  19. All Mammal 2022-12-21 18:54

    Of all the injustices in this world, the only issue that gets some people madly passionate is boys kissing boys..? But children going hungry is trivial…? …Nokay. If people being free to be themselves is the worse thing happening to you, Mr. Pearson, you can see a grievance counselor. There has always been different people into different things, which means it is a naturally occurring element in the population. Because none of this stuff is new. I promise. It has been around since Atom.

    Of all the infinite things in the universe you could choose to become, you picked being a hater? I mean, you could have chosen anything. Why would you go with hater?

  20. bearcreekbat 2022-12-21 19:14

    Cory, I think you nailed it with the observation:

    “that LGBTQ people suffer not from mental illness but from mental injury? Hatred from people like Steve and Kristi injures the psyches of transgender people in the same way that hatred and the actions that express it injure the physical bodies of abused women and children.”

    As I read the research that is exactly what science has demonstrated. LGBTQ people suffer substantial mental health injury from hatred and discrimination, just as any non-LGBTQ person would.

  21. grudznick 2022-12-21 20:12

    Setting aside the overarching LBTQG business, how would any of you suggest this particular issue with The Transformation Project Group be fixed? Should the state re-up the contract and give them more money? Should the state hire a competing group for the transforming? Do we publicly flog somebody?

  22. P. Aitch 2022-12-21 22:45

    grudznick, you half educated turtle. It’s Federal money. You’d like us to “set aside an issue you know nothing about” but that’s why we’re here. Why exactly are you here? Hmmmm …. ?

  23. All Mammal 2022-12-22 00:27

    Mr. G- If I may suggest the strategy requiring the least rigamarole and yields the most positive impact. The TPG has likely invested in a mission statement that reflects the goal of our generous federal appropriations. TPG’s reputation of getting it done compounded with their assessment of our needs, only adds to their appeal. No need for paddle shlapping anyone. Maybe just a drizzle of name calling, aka chumly affection; SoDak-style. Then we can start having a really, really, really good timeÜ

  24. Joe 2022-12-22 22:09

    ””A transgender advocacy organization plans to sue the state of South Dakota for civil rights violations over Gov. Kristi Noem’s abrupt cancellation of a health care facilitation contract with the group.

    Brendan Johnson, a former U.S. district attorney who works for the law firm Robins Kaplan, told South Dakota Searchlight that his firm will represent The Transformation Project at no cost in a civil action against the state.
    Johnson said he plans to send the state a litigation hold this week, which is a legal notice of pending action that orders the expected defendant to preserve all records and correspondence related to a legal claim.

    The group’s claim originates with the contract cancellation, Johnson said, but “it’s not a contract dispute.”
    “This is about violating federal law, equal protection,” Johnson said. “You cannot discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. We believe that’s in violation of agreements between the state of South Dakota and the federal government that provided these funds.”

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