This post is part of a series featuring the incredible group of Montanans who have stepped forward to challenge the constitutionality of I-183. To read more about the ACLU of Montana’s lawsuit, click here.
At age 15, Kasandra Reddington traveled the short distance from Shepherd, Montana to enroll in courses at MSU-Billings. She would go on to graduate with a degree in psychology and concentrations in biology and neuroscience. While on campus, Kasandra threw herself into the MSU-B student community. She ran the school newspaper for a year, helped start up the Psi-Chi honors society and psychology club, volunteered at the Women and Genders Studies center, the Out Club, and was a student senator.
She describes herself as a “traditional super nerdy girl,” with a constant appetite to dig into subjects such as science, philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, and pop culture. Now at age 21, she plans to pursue a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience.
While at MSU-Billings, Kasandra was interviewed about her experiences as a transgender woman. Death threats followed. Unfortunately, “As horrible is as this is to say, it’s kind of a day in the life of a trans person to experience horrible negativity,” Kasandra explained.
Kasandra made the decision to add her name to the list of plaintiffs against I-183 because, “It’s something I can do for the current and next generations to make things easier, more normal and better. That way, they don’t have to fight for their existence like I do.”
She continued, “I-183 would directly impact me because I’m so publicly out and I so publicly go to public spaces that I risk the chance, especially in Billings, of somebody noticing me. That could result in possible sexual or physical assault against me. It could get me fired, I could lose my housing. In Helena, it’s different because we have a nondiscrimination ordinance but if I-183 passes, then I’m not protected for housing or working [by the NDO].” If I-183 passes, “I’m not allowed to be a productive member of society because of this bill.”
I-183 “directly impacts me because it then has to go to a vote, and it (that vote) shows how much other Montanans believe that I exist, or care that I exist. So it negatively impacts me emotionally and spiritually.”
“When you have a bill that directly attacks your existence, and directly attacks your security, I think it makes you feel like you can’t even go outside or be a part of the community. Peripherally, it affects me because I am a human. And I’m a part of the community and I have a lot of trans friends. It affects my partner, and my family. It affects every part of who I am. Basically, it’s an attack on my existence.”
Kasandra is 21 years old. (Preferred pronouns: she, her)