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Pride Festival Celebrates LGBT Advances, Mourns Losses In Orlando And In State Laws

At the Black Hills Pride Festival in Rapid City's Wilson Park this weekend, 49 rainbow flags dotted the lawn at the entrance to the event. Each one commemorated one of the 49 victims who were shot and killed last month in Orlando at Pulse nightclub. Mingling with the crowd were police officers, on foot or on bikes, providing security. A board member of the Equality Center, Amber Le Blanc, tells SDPB's Victoria Wicks that safety is an ongoing concern for people whose gender is fluid.

This weekend, the Black Hills Pride Festival was held at Wilson Park in Rapid City. Earlier in the week, South Dakota joined 22 other states in opposing a federal mandate respecting transgender students' chosen identity. Some states have passed laws restricting equal access to public accommodations in schools, such as sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms. The 2016 South Dakota legislature passed a similar law, but Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed it.

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States fight the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice's policy of interpreting Title IX protections against sex discrimination in education as protecting transgender students.

To read the joint statement from Education and Justice, click on this link:

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-departments-justice-and-education-release-joint-guidance-help-schools-ensure-civil-rights

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