Photo via Pierre Area Center for Equality
As the general election nears, there are more candidates than ever running for legislative and municipal offices statewide with some already having secured their seats.
In recent years, LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit advocates have made giant leaps forward. However, the fight for equality is far from over – especially with little to no representation from the queer community in elected offices.
Discrimination is still the law of the land in many states – especially ours. Even after June 15's historic Supreme Court ruling where workplace protections were solidified for queer people, issues that matter to South Dakotans are still ignored by some of our elected leaders. Certain state and local lawmakers are even mission-bound to attack the LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit community during and outside of legislative session.
So, it’s really not a shock that LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit South Dakotans are disconnected to the political process. Yet for some, the campaign trail is a viable path to a better community. In a year marked by endless uncertainty and stress, queer South Dakotans are finding strength in the number of LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit candidates and allies, fighting for seats in public office around the state. Some have even already secured their spots in cities like Vermillion.
By seeing candidates who represent various facets of the queer community, voters are offered something that is all but lost for many LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit folks: a sense of hope.
The South Dakota state legislature is no stranger to anti-LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit rhetoric. In fact, we’ve fought back and defeated almost every measure proposed. It is our hope that when people get elected to office who have been in the shoes of a queer person, we may finally see an end to this annual war on LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit South Dakotans.
So, how do we make this happen? By showing up and voting out.
Every eligible South Dakota voter has a duty to make their communities safer for their neighbors. The first step is making sure you’re registered to vote, then casting a ballot for candidates who will show up and fight for everyone’s right to thrive.
If you aren’t currently registered to vote but are eligible to do so, or would like to update your current South Dakota voter registration, visit aclusd.org/south-dakota-votes today. The registration deadline is Oct. 19, 2020 to vote on the Nov. 3 General Election.
Show your community you care by voting, today.