SD Governor Refuses to Meet Transgender people, contemplates signing transphobic bill

By Dana Ferguson, with the Argus Leader

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has turned down an invitation to meet with transgender students before deciding whether to sign a bill that would bar them from using public school bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities of the gender with which they identify.

A representative from a Sioux Falls LGBT support and advocacy group said Daugaard's office responded to a letter the group sent last week saying he'd be unable to meet due to scheduling conflicts.

The news comes a day after the South Dakota Senate approved H.B. 1008 advancing it to Daugaard for his signature. Last week, the Republican governor said he hadn't knowingly met a transgender person and didn't think he needed to do so before taking up the bill.

Ashley Joubert-Gaddis, director of operations for The Center for Equality, said she was disappointed to receive the news in a voicemail Wednesday and called back to hear it again directly.

"It's disheartening and of course it's frustrating, but we've been making it clear that this isn't the end," Joubert-Gaddis said.

Daugaard has five days to approve or veto the measure after it arrives on his desk.