To the Editor,
Greetings! It’s been a little while since I reached out to you, and I want you to know that our work continues to make the Dakotas a more loving — and less hateful — place to live for LGTBQ2S individuals. In addition to our continued mission to pass anti-hate and marriage equality legislation on tribal nations, my partner, Felipa, and I are now pushing back against the transphobic agenda of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and other state legislators.
Recently, we took to the Rapid City streets (where we faced plenty of open hate from passers-by) to voice our displeasure about HB 1076. This awful and eventually unsuccessful bill would have discriminated against Tran’s people by stopping them from correcting their birth certificates.
We also opposed HB 1217, a pointless and harmful piece of legislation designed to prohibit Tran’s girls from participating in school sports. That bill — problematic in so many ways — ultimately failed when Noem refused to sign it over potential legal entanglements. However, the governor believed strongly enough in its underlying aim that she then signed a pair of executive orders (one aimed at K-12 and another at colleges) limiting girls sports to those who can prove they were born female.
Zero documented instances exist of harm to girls’ athletic teams by Tran’s kids. Meanwhile, Trans youth who are told they can’t participate in normal, healthy youth activities like sports suffer high suicide rates — and that’s not just a statistic. I’m sad to say we are in personal communication with the family of one child who took their own life not long ago.
Bottom line: it’s time to stop finding ways to punish two-spirit people. We should be celebrated for the diversity of perspective we bring to society, just as we traditionally were in our own Native culture. That’s why Felipa and I will keep working every day — at Lakota Law’s Rapid City offices, in the streets, at the capitol, and at tribal meetings — to replace the hate and loss with love and light.
Wopila tanka — our deep gratitude for your solidarity!
Monique (Muffie) Mousseau
In partnership with the Lakota People’s Law Project