Governor Kristi Noem is shipping South Dakota National Guards to Texas to respond to a fictitious emergency. Maybe other states should deploy their National Guards to protect South Dakota’s gays, lesbians, and transgender residents. The Human Rights Campaign says LGBT Americans face a real emergency:
Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time in its more than 40-year history, following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year. A new report released by HRC today — LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack — details more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.
The sharp rise in anti-LGBTQ+ measures has spawned a dizzying patchwork of discriminatory state laws that have created increasingly hostile and dangerous environments for LGBTQ+ people, prompting HRC today to also issue a national warning and downloadable guidebook for the LGBTQ+ community — including health and safety resources, a summary of state-by-state laws, “know your rights” information, and resources designed to support LGBTQ+ travelers as well as those already living in hostile states. This guidebook will arm LGBTQ+ people with resources and information to help ensure safety in all 50 states [Human Rights Campaign, press release, 2023.06.06].
HRC President Kelley Robinson says millions of Americans—both LGBT and their families—face “real, tangible, and dangerous” threats to their health and safety.
But believe it or not, by HRC’s tally of state laws affecting LGBT rights, South Dakota isn’t the worst place to be gay or transgender. South Dakota is on the wrong side of tolerant justice in just four of HRC’s ten legal criteria: we don’t have a non-discrimination law or a conversion-therapy ban, and we do have bans on gender-affirming healthcare and transgender sports participation. To the good, South Dakota hasn’t gotten around to enacting a statewide bathroom ban, LGBT “erasure” law, a Florida-style “Don’t Say Gay” law, pronoun refusal, forced student outing, or a statewide ban on drag shows (Rep. Chris Karr’s House Bill 1116 failed this Session, but Governor Noem is still dragging the issue). If anyone has Rainbow Guards to deploy, they maybe ought to head first to Montana, which fails nine of HRC’s ten criteria for LGBT rights. Tennessee is right behind with eight black marks. North Dakota ties with four other states for third-worst with seven legal dings against LGBT residents and visitors.
Minnesota is one of 21 places (also California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington) that does everything right legally on HRC’s scorecard. Minnesota may not deploy troops to South Dakota to protect Pride marchers, but it does offer folks the freedom to be themselves amidst those 10,000 Lakes.