Kristi Noem sued by transgender group after she canceled contract

A transgender activist group in South Dakota is suing Republican Gov. Kristi Noem after she canceled a contract with the group and disavowed its efforts in December.

The Transformation Project filed a lawsuit Friday against Noem and South Dakota Secretary of Health Melissa Madstadt alleging discrimination after the cancellation caused the group to lose a nearly $136,000 grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Susan Williams, director of the Transformation Project, said the loss of the grant was ‘uncalled for and was, in fact, discrimination.’

‘We believe that our contract was not broken and that the State’s claims against us are unfounded,’ she said.

Noem spokesperson Ian Fury said in December that the contract with the Transformation Project had been signed without Noem’s knowledge or consent. 

The governor’s office has also said the organization did not meet all the terms of its contract, such as providing quarterly reports. 

‘South Dakota does not support this organization’s efforts, and state government should not be participating in them,’ Noem said in a statement at the time. ‘We should not be dividing our youth with radical ideologies. We should treat every single individual equally as a human being.’

The termination came after The Daily Signal and Alpha News reported on the Transformation Project’s ‘Gender Identity Summit’ hosted by a South Dakota health care provider.

The summit included sessions on ‘Transgender Cultural Competency’ and ‘Learning to Address Implicit Bias Towards LGBTQ+ & 2S Patients.’

Brendan Johnson, an attorney representing the group, said Friday the contract’s cancellation was unconstitutional and unlawful.

‘Even our state government is not above the rule of law, and we stand with the Transformation Project in this important constitutional challenge,’ Johnson said.

The governor’s office and state Department of Health did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment Sunday.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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