In a stunning display of the sort of empathy and understanding that has become a hallmark of her time in office (*sarcasm alert*), South Dakota’s GOP Governor, Kristi Noem was asked at a press conference yesterday about the mental health challenges facing LGBTQ people.
The press conference comes a week after Noem signed a law banning young trans athletes from competing in sports aligning with their gender identity.
Related: Kristi Noem had a very crappy weekend
“There’s a statistic circulating around right now that says 90% of South Dakota’s LGBTQ community is diagnosed with either anxiety or depression,” says a reporter.
“Mmmm,” responds Noem, nodding her head.
“Why do you think that is?” asks the reporter.
“I don’t know,” she shoots back. “That makes me sad and we should figure it out,” she continues impassionately, before nodding a bit more and then looking around for another question.
Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD), who just signed the first anti-trans bill of 2022 into law, is asked why she thinks 90% of LGBTQ+ youth in South Dakota are diagnosed with anxiety or depression:
“I don’t know. That makes me sad, and we should figure it out.” pic.twitter.com/WbKr2Tlujs
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) February 17, 2022
You can watch it on YouTube below.
It’s long been known that LGBTQ people experience a disproportionate amount of depression and anxiety, often linked to the discrimination they face, among other factors.
The specific data quoted on this occasion come from a report from HelpAdvisor. It found across the US, 63% of LGBTQ people reported feeling “down, depressed or hopeless” at least once a week. This jumped to 87% in South Dakota, higher than any other state.
Related: Kristi Noem in crisis mode over affair rumors, says she loves her husband, fears God, blah, blah, blah
Earlier this month, Noem signed into law South Dakota’s “fairness in women’s sport bill” (SB 46), the first anti-transgender measure signed into law in the United States in 2022. It bars trans athletes from competing in school sports events corresponding with their gender identity.
At the same time, the South Dakota House passed a bill that would ban trans students from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity.
LGBTQ advocacy group HRC responded by saying, “Instead of focusing on the real issues affecting the people of South Dakota, Gov. Noem and anti-LGBTQ+ state legislators continue their relentless, baseless, and patently discriminatory attacks against transgender kids. They show no shame. The governor’s eagerness to pass a bill attacking transgender kids reveals that her national political aspirations override any sense of responsibility she has to fulfill her oath to protect South Dakotans.”
Noem has form in this area. She has previously opposed same-sex marriage, and last year she signed a religious refusal bill allowing businesses and organizations to deny service to LGBTQ people.
Twitter was quick to respond to Noem’s lack of insight.
Someone needs to buy Kristi Noem a mirror and a conscience. Then she might be able to figure it out.
— W Paul Jones (@WPaulJones2) February 17, 2022
She really doesn’t see the connection between legislating the erasure of a group of people and them feeling worthless and sad? #Einstein
— Rosiebita (@rosiebita) February 17, 2022
Right after the interpreter signs Noem’s response her look says it all. 🤣😂 pic.twitter.com/qkfO82kb4G
— 1/6 was an inside job (@Freefree0Bobbie) February 17, 2022
Wish more ppl were aware of the data that shows what most of us know in our hearts to be true:
When trans kids are affirmed, they thrive
Children deserve to be protected & loved for who they are—not used as political cudgels by craven politicians &bullies in lawmakers’ clothing
— NotATweeter16 (@NotATweeter16) February 17, 2022
Maaaayyyybe you should take the time and ask the kids WHY they are anxious or depressed. You might find that the kids don’t feel supported or encouraged.
Maaayyybe you will find out the legislating like this ALSO might have something to do with it, too.
— Chakster ✌️ (@Chakster2) February 17, 2022
NO reporter followed that up with the obvious question about how the bill will make this WORSE?
They all just sat there? Silent?
— John Howard (@manyspaceships) February 17, 2022
— rcdlv (@rcdlv1) February 17, 2022
This woman is of course an apathetic a-hole. But we also need to stop leaning on “queers are depressed because the world doesn’t accept them” trope. It’s an almost offensively basic way at looking at mental health struggles.
Religious guilt and persecution, sociological rejection, hetero/gender “normal” pressures, lack of family support- these definitely effect mental health of course. “Queers” are also a bit more likely to have experienced variations of abuse or sexual traumas, and that can effect mental health. Being overwhelmed by gender/sexual fluidity and contradictions and paraphiliacs and hyper-sensitive sexual, these are things that can effect mental health. Being perpetually confused about where you are in the gender, sexual, affection, romantic, emotion, commitment spectrum can effect mental health. Unrelenting feelings of internalIzed phobias, insecurities, gay resentments, queer self-consciousness, etc. can effect mental health. Being overly obsessed with your looks or with sociological validation and maintaining a certain image and appeal can effect mental health.
The mental health concerns involving “queers” isn’t nearly as simple as mere discrimination. This site really needs to stop preaching basic ass, broad-stroking shit to make certain points. It’s really not necessary and ends up undermining the points you’re trying to make.
Josh in OR
While I agree that not ALL mental issues among the queer community can be laid at the feet of religious abuse, parental abuse/neglect, societal demonization, peer abuse, etc…the reality is that all of that ABSOLUTELY contributes.
One can only grow up once, after all, and if your childhood is filled – as SO MANY queer peoples’ still are – with messaging that you are disgusting, hellbpund, filthy, sinful, perverted, a threat to decency, a threat to your peers, deserving of violence and death JUST for being yourself? That has LASTING effects on young minds. Even if they grow up and out of those circumstances, the memories of those words, those sermons, those headlines, sound bites, beatings, and so on remain. Mental scars last a LOT longer than physical ones for most people. Instead of minimizing the experience of others – which only contributes to the cultural message that we aren’t ‘good enough’ – maybe we should work on FIXING the problem by continuing to shine light on it? Even if it ‘bores’ us or if our own experiences don’t parallel the experiences of others?
I dunno. Addressing the damage religious fundamentalism has done, not just to queer people, but to ALL of us, would be a GREAT place to start the conversation, and make it clear that trauma is something most of us can relate to in some way, even if all of us experience it differently. As common ground, it can be a great starting point, but it’s not an excuse for poor behavior.
I just don’t like taking complicated and individual problems is trying to whittle them down for the sake of politics.
The “anti-trans” law is really a pro-biological woman law. Transgender females – who do not have a uterus and have xy chromosomes – should not be competing against biological females who have a uterus and xx chromosomes, due to the fact that transgender females have the added advantage of being bigger and stronger. By the way, according to Gallup, 72% of Americans agree with Governor Noem.
The science isn’t on your side, though. The Y chromosome is filled with genes, not just one. Even the part that confers “maleness” is called SRY — and the R stands for “Region,” as in, it’s a long stretch of base pairs. Each gene has multiple alleles. Just like a person with genes for eyes can have blue eyes or brown eyes, a person with SRY can have a variety of forms of it. Furthermore, genes are impacted by epigenetics (“epi-” meaning above or on top of). Epigenetic controls turn genes off and on, decide when and how much, etc. A gene could be inactive in the womb but become very active in puberty, or the opposite. Epigenetic controls can be even more dynamic than that — responding to environmental changes like sleep or diet, day by day.
I’m so tired. Your C+ in high school bio in 1986 is worthless. Those of us with advanced degrees in biology are exhausted by all the fools posing as experts. You sound like a flat-earther or anti-vaxxer and you don’t even know it.
Josh in OR
All that tells me is that 72% of Americans, including Noem and yourself, grave no idea what hormone blockers and replacement treatments do to a transitioning person’s body. Your lack of medical understanding or empathy shouldn’t invalidate other peoples actual lived experience. Or sound medical and scientific guidance from professionals. *shrug*
I think what you want to say Barry, is “Transgender people are icky.” Just say it. They make you queasy and uncomfortable.
Just when I thought SamB was gone here you pop up with another screen name with stupidity..
Josh in OR
She has no idea why queer people suffer greater levels of depression and anxiety because her religion, which is at the root of so much racism, misogyny and hatred for queer people, refuses to admit the role they play in it. They refuse to acknowledge the damage they and their fundamentalist dogma DAMAGE society, so they cannot fathom that people might react poorly to being told from childhood how disgusting, wrong, hated-by-god, filthy, depraved, sinful, deserving-of-violence-and-death we are simply for existing.
This woman, with her neuroses and complexes, and her pathetic loyalty to the unspeakable Donald Trump, is just one of the reasons why this queer man is a lifelong yellow dog Democrat.
Therefore, you’re a one-issue voter. I’d guess you would vote for Adolf Hitler as long as he had a “D” after his name. Sad.
Isn’t there a corollary to Godwin’s Law stating that to go right to Nazis is an automatic lose in an argument? BTW, there’s a whole range for us lifetime Democrats to choose from ranging from very progressive to actually very conservative. We don’t all genuflect to the same con man.
I used to be one of those “conservative” Democrats. I re-registered as an independent, but my political philosophy leans libertarian: Stay out of our bedrooms and our wallets.
Today. I don’t think there are any truly conservative Democrats left.
After looking at her ugly face I am no longer depressed. ???
When I first saw her, I thought she looked a lot like Lynda Carter, the first Wonder Woman, and that may be who she thinks she is, but WW, if you remember, was an Amazon, whose homeland forbade a man from setting foot there, and even after leaving there, championed other women. Noem, however, is not Wonder Woman, and never will be, as she only seems to champion what a man (Trump) wants, and how it might aid her quest for more “power” and political influence. Evidently, she fails to see where he’s headed for a fall, and if/when he does, she’ll be left with nothing, along with all his other sycophants.