Anti-trans Kristi Noem challenged on why 90% of LGBT+ teens in South Dakota suffer anxiety or depression

White House slams South Dakota governor and accuses her of ‘attacking LGBT youth’

Shweta Sharma
Saturday 19 February 2022 09:44
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<p>South Dakota governor Kristi Noem had signed an exclusionary bill on 3 February that bars transgender girls and women from playing on women’s sports teams</p>

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem had signed an exclusionary bill on 3 February that bars transgender girls and women from playing on women’s sports teams

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem has come under fire after she was left clueless about a question on why nearly 90 per cent of the state’s LGBTQ+ community had a high depression rate.

Ms Noem, who signed an exclusionary bill that bars transgender girls and women from playing on women’s sports teams, was left stumped when she was confronted by a reporter with a statistic about the high rate of mental health issues suffered by the LGBT+ community in South Dakota.

“I don’t know,” Ms Noem said. “That makes me sad, and we should figure it out.”

Following her response, the White House slammed her for signing the bill, accusing her of “attacking LGBT youth” with her policies.

“Here’s a start for you, Governor,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House deputy press secretary, and shared the video from Thursday’s press conference.

“1. Don’t advance policies that attack trans youth, 2. Don’t fund ads attacking LGBT youth, 3. support @POTUS’ agenda to enhance support for youth mental health needs, with funding made available through the American Rescue Plan,” she added.

The White House official’s tweet triggered a feud between the two as Ms Noem pushed back against criticism and doubled down on Ms Jean-Pierre.

“We believe in fairness in SD and are ranked #1 in mental health by US News,” Ms Noem said.

“Care to comment on the numerous failures of your boss @JoeBiden? Inflation. Constant foreign policy failures. Stagnant job market. Fauci fatigue. Gas prices. Care to take some lessons from our leadership?” she added.

The South Dakota governor had grabbed national deadlines after she signed a bill on 3 February into law to crack down on transgender women. The legislation would require all the people playing on a female sports team to have been assigned the female gender at birth, effectively banning transgender girls and women from competing.

South Dakota is the tenth state to impose such restrictions and the first to do so this year.

Such laws have, however, sparked a heated debate in the country, with opponents of the law condemning Republican-led bans as discriminatory and dehumanising for the LGBT+ community.

The question posed to Ms Noem was backed by a statistic by a recent HelpAdvisor report which analysed rates of anxiety and depression among LGBT+ people in the US.

It found that about 87 per cent of the LGBT+ community in South Dakota – the greatest across the country – suffered mental health conditions.

Human rights groups have also repeatedly condemned the laws targeting LGBT+ people, which they say could harm and alienate them.

“Transgender children are children,” said the Human Rights Campaign’s senior counsel, Cathryn Oakley, after the signing of the bill. “They deserve the ability to play with their friends. This legislation isn’t solving an actual problem that South Dakota was facing: it is discrimination, plain and simple. Shame on Governor Noem.”

Ms Noem asserted, during the signing of the bill, that it has been an important priority for a lot of the people.

“We will ensure that we have fairness and a level playing field for female athletes here in the state of South Dakota, at the K-12 level and at the university level,” she said.

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