The Transformative Project is filing a federal lawsuit against South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dakota News Now) – Our Transformation Project is filing a lawsuit against South Dakota. This is in response to the termination of the contract for the Public Health Officer position.

The lawsuit alleges that the termination of the contract at the end of December was sudden, unconstitutional and discriminatory. The position was previously held by Jack Fonder, a transgender person. The non-profit organization has decided to challenge the government.

When Fonder found out his contract was up, he said he had a moment of panic about why this happened and how he was going to live. Soon after, executive director Susan Williams said they would find a way to keep him employed.

Governor Noem explained the reason for terminating the contract in a letter sent to the South Dakota Family Heritage Alliance. He said, “South Dakota does not support the efforts of this organization, and the state government should not participate in them or fund them. The contract was concluded without my knowledge and permission.”

Brendan Johnson of Robins Kaplan LLP represents the Transformation Project. He explains why the lawsuit was filed.

“Well, what we’re asking the court to do is rule that it was unconstitutional for the state to discriminate against the Transformation Project on the basis of sex and gender, and then make sure that it never happens to another group in South Dakota. don’t happen,” Johnson said.

Johnson is personally concerned with the treatment of LGBTQ people by the government in Pierre in general.

“When I look at what happened in Pierre, it hurts. It really does personally because I know and am friends with a lot of people in South Dakota, with people in the LGBTQ community. And I’m worried that they’re going to feel like they’re being undercut,” Johnson said.

Johnson and Funder want LGBTQ youth to know they are fighting for them.

“It is important to me that the LGBTQ community in South Dakota know that they are a beautiful, valuable and proud part of the fabric of this state and that they are entitled to the same protections as everyone else,” Johnson said.

It’s too early to know what the timeline for this lawsuit will be. The next step in the process is awaiting a response from the South Dakota Attorney General.

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