Transgender Lawyer Speaks In South Dakota About Acceptance

Aug 2, 2016

Credit Contributed Photo

A transgender attorney is touring South Dakota to build understanding and acceptance.  

Ellen Krug spoke at the Equality Center in Sioux Falls on Monday evening and at the Rapid City Public Library on Tuesday night on how to interact with diverse populations.

Ellen Krug says she is the first Iowa attorney to transition genders.  Krug also says she is one of few attorneys in the country to try jury cases in separate genders.

Now, Krug lives in Minneapolis where she leads a non-profit. She’s making her way through South Dakota and Wyoming. She says these are both states where LGBTQ people can be refused service.

“In theory, at a hotel that I check into, if the owner of the hotel says we don’t want your type here they can refuse me service,” Krug says. “And in theory I have no legal recourse against them. That’s at the back of my mind. And I’m only here as a visitor. I can imagine, though, what it’s like if you live here and you know that your rights are lesser than the rights of other people.”

Krug says she’s traveling across South Dakota and Wyoming offering a toolset for interacting with diverse humans, with an emphasis on transgender people. She says she believes that many people want to do the right thing, but she says they don’t always know how to interact with those who have changed their gender.  She says that’s where conversation comes in…

“I’m just asking people to have an open mind,” Krug says. “You know, I’m a nice person. I think that most people, if you sat down and had a cup of coffee with me for a half hour, I think that you would like me and I think that you would have a better understanding of what it means to be different in our society. And maybe you would come away in saying ‘you know what? She’s okay… Let’s let her check into the hotel.’”

Krug says she wants her conversations to be a ripple of hope that lead to more compassion toward the transgender community.

To hear the full interview with Krug, click Play below.