The Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco is hosting the “Third Annual Midwest Gender Identity Summit,” – discussing the “needs of transgender patients in healthcare,”
Just kidding. It’s the “Sanford Research Center”, in Sioux Falls.
Sanford Health – the titan of rural healthcare, and one of the biggest employers in the upper midwest – is pushing the very “blue” trans agenda in the very red northern Great Plains:
Both Sanford and the Transformation Project are representative of the larger forces that are working to bring the transgender movement to the deepest-red corners of the United States — a coordinated, well-funded campaign for which South Dakota has become something of a trial run. That campaign’s influence has reached the Republican-dominated state legislature, where dozens of anti-gender-ideology bills have failed over the past decade. “No one thought South Dakota was a state where this could be stopped,” Libby Skarin, the campaign director for the ACLU of South Dakota, boasted in February. “I think the fact that we have consistently stopped these bills has been a source of hope for folks, like if they can do it in South Dakota, we can do it in our state.”
Sanford, which purports to be “the largest rural health system in the United States” — it currently employs nearly seven times more South Dakotans than any other business in the state — has played a pivotal role in orchestrating those conservative failures. In 2021, a National Review investigation detailed the medical giant’s links to the failure of House Bill 1217, which would have banned males from competing in women’s sports. South Dakota governor Kristi Noem had sparked conservative outrage by vetoing the bill earlier that year — a move that dampened her status as a rising Republican star, even after she hastened to reintroduce an analogous bill at the outset of the next legislative session.
The Diversity/Equity/Inclusion (DEI) agenda is being pushed into very red places by very blue big business – as a project to try to “convert” red parts of the country.
And in the case of Transgender ideology in South Dakota, it’s working:
Despite the overwhelmingly Republican composition of South Dakota politics, gender ideology has made inroads in almost every area of the state’s governing institutions. Last month, for example, SDSU drew conservative criticism for hosting a “kid-friendly” drag show, an event that multiple local lawmakers argued could be illegal under the state’s prohibition on “show[s] or other presentation[s]” deemed “harmful to minors.” Elsewhere, the Noem-appointed head of the state’s Department of Corrections signed a new “Management of Gender Dysphoria” policy specifying that state-prison inmates could request transfers to facilities that corresponded with their “gender identity” rather than sex — and be provided with sex-change drugs on the taxpayer dime.
But no set of institutions in South Dakota has embraced gender ideology more than the state’s Sanford-dominated business community, which sits well to the left of the state’s political center of gravity. (In November 2020, Sanford replaced its CEO of 24 years after he informed employees that he wouldn’t be wearing a mask around the office, arguing that he had recently recovered from the Covid virus and therefore posed no threat of spreading it.) The state’s Chamber of Commerce chapters, which are closely tied to Sanford, regularly lobby against social-conservative bills, including medical conscience rights, the prohibitions on sex changes for minors, birth-certificate gender changes, transgender locker room use, and bans on men in women’s sports.
This is happening as other civilized countries are having intense second thoughts about the excesses of Big Transgender.
This shows how Big Left gets incrementalism in a way conservatives are having a lot of trouble with.