Transgender students from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology talks about bills in Pierre will affect their lives

RAPID CITY, S.D.(KOTA)- A spate of bills the South Dakota legislative session have undeniably turned focus back onto transgender issues and by extension the human impact it would have.

A group of 4 gender nonconforming students from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology agreed to be interviewed to share their experiences.  As a school operated by the Board of Regents, it would be subjected to both HB1005(Bathroom Bill) & SB46(Fairness in Women’s Sports).

The students asked for their idenities to be concealed.  When asked why they requested this.

Each group member agreed they feared violence as nonconforming community members.

When asked, nobody in the group said they could describe their mental health in positive terms.

However, despite targeted bills, and despite the possibility of hate crimes, the students were then asked if the personal mental health benefits of embracing nonconforming identities were worth it.

One of the students has said that coming out has helped prevent her from committing suicide.

SB46(Fairness in Women’s Sports) bill, has been signed into law by Governor Kristi Noem.

The group was asked if they felt targeted by this legislation.

Further, the group said they personally didn’t see trans students going onto sports teams of their preferred gender as much of an issue.

In fact, these students were part of the colleges Spectrum group, and when the larger group was asked none of the roughly 20 students said they knew a transgender person who was looking to play sports.

The students said they would be interested in protesting to fight these bills.

But one student, who asked for their voice to be altered, said.

The students used words like “terrified” “very angry” and “anxiety” to describe the feeling of being targeted by this kind of legislation.

The students were members of Spectrum, a queer visibility campus organization.