When one of the stars of HBO Max’s drag queen reality series We’re Here asked South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) to speak to an LGBTQ group that was visiting the Capitol building, Noem refused to come out of her office.
Amy Rambow, an LGBTQ ally and founder of the South Dakota LGBTQ organization Watertown Love, was at the state capitol with her trans child, Alex, as part of Equality South Dakota’s Visibility and Advocacy Day.
Watertown Love had a table set up near Noem’s office, and eventually Noem walked by with her dog.
“I just seized the opportunity,” Rambow told Advocate. She approached Noem and asked if she would speak to the group.
“She did the old power move where you put your hand on someone’s shoulder and nod, and then went to her office,” Rambow said. “It’s just that look of seeing through you and not hearing you.”
Rambow said Noem holed up in her office after that and did not make another appearance. There was, however, “a lot of security presence.”
Visibility and Equality Day at the South Dakota Capital! I personally invited @govkristinoem out to talk to us when she came into her office but she never showed. I guess she represents some South Dakotans. #TransKidsMatter pic.twitter.com/XwYHtN2cFL
— Amy Rambow (@AmyRambow) February 15, 2022
Noem has led a successful effort to ban trans youth from playing sports in her state. She, herself, authored the first state anti-trans bill of 2022 to pass. S.B. 46 bans trans girls from participating in school sports as their gender.
She signed the bill into law earlier this month at a brief ceremony where she said she was “grateful” to the legislature for passing it.
She has also been using her anti-trans beliefs to promote her reelection campaign for next year. She released a national ad campaign promoting S.B. 46. The ad opened by declaring, “In South Dakota, only girls play girls’ sports. Why? Because of Governor Kristi Noem’s leadership.”
Noem is believed to also have presidential ambitions, which could explain why her campaign paid to run her anti-trans ad nationally instead of just in her state.
For Rambow’s son Alex, Noem’s actions could have major consequences. After graduating, Alex is considering leaving the South Dakota depending on the state of trans rights there.
Rambow criticized Noem for refusing to speak to them, saying it “really meant that she could make laws but isn’t willing to speak to the people she’s making laws about.”
“She could’ve at least taken a second to come out, but I’m sure after she signed a bill that she introduced into law she had no interest in speaking to us.”
“She only represents those Republicans in the state and not anybody else. It truly angered me because we just wanted a moment to speak with her about the issues and she doesn’t take that time.”