SIOUX FALLS, SD, May 2, 2014 ( – A South Dakota politician is receiving national criticism after posting an op-ed on his Facebook page denouncing same-sex relations and the way society has handled suicide rates among transgender youth.

Among many other outlets,, Jezebel, and all published criticisms of the op-ed published by State Representative Steve Hickey. Among the attacks is's Mark Joseph Stern assertion that “there’s nothing inherently unhealthy about anal sex.”

However, much of Hickey's op-ed is in line with well-established realities surrounding the topic.


For example, Hickey states that “gay sex is not good for the body or mind.” This statement is in line with reports from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) showing that while men having sex with men (MSM) are approximately four percent of the population, they make up 52 percent of the U.S. HIV/AIDS population, and account for nearly two-thirds of all new HIV/AIDS cases. They are also more than 40 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV/AIDS than heterosexual men. However, the rate of MSM who have sex with each other without a condom has gone up in recent years.

Homosexual men who have relations with other men also die at a much younger age than their heterosexual counterparts, all the while suffering from greater rates of depression.

Hickey's letter, which was directed “to the medical and psychological communities in” his state, notes that “somehow the message we are presently getting from the medical community is that eating at McDonald's will kill us, but the gay lifestyle has no side effects.” He challenged medical and psychological professionals to stand up for children, asking if they are quiet on the issue because they “feel silenced and intimidated.”

Hickey also addressed how South Dakota addresses depression and suicide among transgender students. “Forty-one percent of those who struggle with Gender Dysphoria attempt suicide,” he wrote. “[T]hat's twenty-five times the rate of the general population– certainly tragic and urgent but not a word from the medical and psychological communities?”

Hickey criticized the medical and psychological communities for “letting our basketball coaches” address transgender issues – referring to the fact that “the South Dakota High School Activities Association is presently considering changing the rules to accommodate transgender kids” – instead of talking about the issue head-on in other ways.

“Letting boys play girl sports is not the starting place to fix the suicide problem or the very real daily struggle these students face,” Hickey continued.

He also asked whether allowing transgender students to play sports with opposite-sex athletes actually helps, “or does it merely put them in more places exposing them to additional painful ostracization, all the while transferring serious anxieties to other innocent and impressionable ones in those locker rooms?”

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Hickey originally sent the op-ed as a letter to the Argus Leader newspaper, but the paper told Talking Points Memo on Wednesday it was unlikely to print the letter, citing its length — over 600 words — and language choice. In February, the paper published a letter expressing an opinion similar to Hickey's, with regards to same-sex relationships.

Hickey told Talking Points Memo that his letter was inspired by a lesbian couple who were “married” in Minnesota but live in South Dakota. They have said they plan to challenge the state's ban on same-sex “marriage.” 


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