Bridging Divides: A transgender lawyer brings her message to Sioux Falls

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Today people gathered at the Holiday Inn City Centre in Sioux Falls to hear from a transgender lawyer and writer who came to KELOLAND to speak to attendees about something she’s spoken about across North America: gender identity, empathy and the commonalities people have.

A hopeless idealist: that’s how writer and lawyer Ellie Krug describes herself.

“I’m a transgender woman. Obviously my voice doesn’t match my appearance. And I go across the country talking about how it is we can have greater compassion for each other. If only we’re brave and willing to take some risks about communicating. Sitting and talking with people who are different or other compared to us,” Krug said.

Today, she brought that message to Sioux Falls.

“The triggering event was the debate about the healthcare bills related to transgender kids and youth. When I saw that come down the pike, because I’m transgender and I work a lot with marginalized communities, including other transgender people, I thought it would be important to come and see and offer whether folks might want to collaborate with me to put on a talk,” Krug said.

Krug’s talk — Bridging Divides — was sponsored by the Transformation Project, Sioux Falls Pride, the ACLU of South Dakota and Equality of South Dakota.

“One of our goals is to educate. So, we’re looking at ways to provide opportunities like this, workshops, panels, conferences, to just help educate the greater community about gender identity, gender expression and the trans community in South Dakota,” Michaela Seiber, vice chair of the Transformation Project board, said.

The talk centered around people’s innate empathy.

“It can be very difficult in today’s America if you are different, or other, I realize that. I know that. I’m different. I am other. But I also know this, most people, the vast majority, like 98-percent of all people have good, empathetic hearts, we just need to get past our fear of other. Once we do that, we find that we have so many things in common,” Ellie Krug said.

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