Nelson is the First Openly Gay Man Elected to the South Dakota Legislature

Man Elected to the South Dakota Legislature: LGBTQ+ lawmakers return to South Dakota. District 10, which includes Sioux Falls, elected homosexual South Dakota House member Kameron Nelson. South Dakota districts elect two representatives and one senator. Erin Healy defeated Republicans John Mogen and Tom Sutton for representative seats.

South Dakota’s First Openly Homosexual Legislator, Nelson, Was Elected This Year

Sioux Falls’ first out LGBTQ+ state representative was elected Tuesday night. Kameron Nelson, who finished second in a new congressional district with two congressmen, will represent District 10 in central Sioux Falls. State senator Angie Buhl came out as bisexual. Nelson is the first South Dakota non-heterosexual winner. The breakthrough and Out and Advocate magazine coverage “humbled” Lifescape’s Director of Major Gifts, Nelson.

“I never felt like the homosexual candidate,” Nelson said. My District 10 campaign addressed voter needs. Nelson-like youthful voters. The 32-year-old was raised in Rapid City, graduated from SDSU, spent most of his 20s in Minneapolis, and returned to Sioux Falls a few years ago for his current job and to be closer to family. Nelson, one of eight Democrats to win one of the 70 seats in his chamber, said that regardless of political persuasion, most people want to support their families, have great neighbors, and feel comfortable in their houses.

Nelson remarked, “I know precisely what young people want to see in an area they want to create their life. South Dakota’s youth. When we let individuals shape our community, they’re more engaged and stay. Stay. We only exist when our youth stay and make South Dakota their home. 31-year-old Indiana transplant Cody Ingle, an openly gay candidate for House District 6 in 2020 and Sioux Falls City Council this spring, reflected those principles.

Like Nelson, Ingle lost both contests and said it was “extremely hard” to measure how being out homosexual harmed him. The Sioux Falls Pride secretary and treasurer are happy with Nelson’s success and hope it inspires other LGBTQ+ candidates.

Ingle said, “It’s a win for South Dakota because we’re going to have a very smart and capable and intelligent legislator, and it’s a win for the LGBTQ-plus community because now we have somebody who we can see ourselves in, who is a representation of who we are in Pierre with lawmakers, creating those laws that can affect change. That gives people greater hope to run these races, to see somebody who has won and to keep fighting and desire to engage in local politics.”

Ingle said Nelson’s exposure offers “people that are uncomfortable with LGBTQ+ folks that don’t want to attempt to overcome it.” Nelson will meet with legislators who have presented “several initiatives that not only don’t prop us up but actively work against us.” Ingle called Nelson engaging and said he could be himself when campaigning door-to-door starting in July.

Man Elected to the South Dakota Legislature
“However, that comes with a lot of personal privilege,” Nelson remarked. “I’m 6-foot-5, cisgender, white. Pass. Many LGBTQ-plus people have it worse than me. Stop villainizing people. While Nelson said he is driven by many issues, including the income gap in his district, he no doubt considers it a priority to introduce bills to make South Dakota more inclusive of lesbians, gays, transgenders, queers, and other non-heterosexual groups who feel ostracized in the state, mostly due to years of proposed and occasionally passed bills that he feels target the LGBTQ+ community.

The newest is Gov. Kristi Noem’s “Fairness in Women’s Athletics” law, which prohibits transgender girls from high school athletics. “Only girls to play girls’ sports” protect South Dakota women, Noem declared on Tuesday after her re-election. South Dakota ACLU called it “shameful.” Dakota News Now researched why the measure was disrespectful and why South Dakota leads the nation in LGBTQ+ misery after Noem signed it.

Ingle said LGBTQ-plus people, especially trans people, have high anxiety, depression, and suicide rates in the U.S. and South Dakota. “Having legislation specifically target them creates a sense of isolation, probable loneliness, and worry of not coming out as trans. Limits authenticity.” Nelson continued, “When there’s an active legislation making you feel like an ‘other than,’ making it so you cannot live your life freely and honestly, this a huge reason for concern for many people. “They’ll establish their lives in various places, villages, cities, communities.”

Nelson said such rules and a culture of exclusion dissuade South Dakota’s brightest minds and competent professionals from relocating there. LGBTQ+ and friendly city/state advocates are included. Nelson said South Dakota’s economy, reputation, and quality of life suffer.

Thus, he plans to present legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt and safeguarding LGBTQ+ workers in all state employees.

“There’s a lot that goes into it,” Nelson added. He feels that same-sex adoption rights and employment protection unite, not divide and that more people may relate to him and his organization than one might think.

Nelson claimed most South Dakotans desired independence. Loving who you love and feeling free at home is powerful.

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