A South Dakota health official appointed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has retired following reports of a controversial state contract with a transgender activist group.
Noem made the announcement on Monday and thanked Health Secretary Joan Adam for her service.
“She has been able to put families first because she recognizes the importance of her own family. I am grateful for her advice and wish her the best on everything that she does,” Noem said in the statement.
The announcement did not mention the state contract with the Transformation Project, a deal that Noam ordered the health department to terminate just last week. The organization was scheduled to host a Gender Identity Summit in January, with news of the event sparking controversy among many South Dakota residents.
Ian Fury, Noem’s chief of communications, said in a statement to The Daily Signal that the contract was signed without the governor’s knowledge.
“South Dakota does not support this organization’s efforts, and state government should not be participating in them,” Noem told the outlet in a statement provided by Fury. “We should not be dividing our youth with radical ideologies. We should treat every single individual equally as a human being.”
The Transformation Project SD states that its mission is “to support and empower transgender individuals and their families while educating communities in SD and the surrounding region about gender identity and expression.”
Among its projects to educate, support, and empower “transgender South Dakotans” is Marty’s Closet, which provides “thousands of items of clothing available for all gender-diverse South Dakotans.”
Adam served in South Dakota’s Department of Health for 20 years. She previously served as Division Director for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention and Division Director for Administration.
Noem has strongly opposed transgender activism in the state. In February, the governor signed a bill designed that bans biological males from competing in girls’ and women’s sports, including provisions for college athletics. The bill, SB 46, is designed “to protect fairness in women’s sports.”