South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (Photo: YouTube)

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.

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.

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