A lesbian North Dakota alderwoman delivered an impassioned speech defending the right of city leaders in Minot, N.D., to fly a Pride flag outside City Hall. [Editor’s Note: You can watch video of the exchange above. It starts automatically at the 1:54 mark, and if you can stomach the rampant homophobia on display, stick with it through the blonde woman in the yellow dress, if only to experience her polite vitriol.]
Residents became enraged that the city would display a rainbow flag, which some felt was inappropriate, based on what they believe the flag represents and the difficulty they might have in explaining its meaning to their children. Some objected to it because they believe the flag glorifies sinful behavior or pedophilia, while others objected to the process by which Mayor Shaun Sipma and Alderwoman Carrie Evans pushed for the city to fly the flag, while one woman claimed flying the flag is the type of action that will lead to “looting, riots and destruction,” according to NBC News.
The flag was raised last Wednesday in response to a request from a local LGBTQ group, Magic City Equality, as part of a proclamation recognizing June as LGBTQ Month in the city. The proclamation was originally scheduled for June, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports NBC affiliate KFYR-TV.
But some residents argued that special interests groups should not have a right to have a flag representing them flown over city hall, or that it was “disrespectful” to fly the flag on the same flagpole as the United States flag. At one point, one of the attendees called out Evans for her body language, implying she was hostile to the concerns being raised at the meeting.
Evans responded, saying she’s part of the LGBTQ community — a fact that many residents in attendance seemed to be unaware of — and that every community should have a right to see themselves represented by their government.
“I am proudly the first openly elected lesbian in North Dakota, so that is why I’m not paying any heed to your crap,” Evans told the man who called her out. “I live in Minot. I am a taxpayer. I am a person. I get to see myself represented on that flagpole, just as much as the people who got the Juneteenth flag last month, as much as the POW/MIAs will get later this month. Every single person is entitled to see themselves represented.”
She continued: “We are not some group of people who live in San Francisco or Seattle. We are HERE. We are your elected officials. We are your brothers. we are your sisters, and don’t tell me you’re not hatred or anger. That’s all I feel. I’ve had to listen to it for days now, as has the mayor and many of my colleagues. It is unacceptable!
“This city is big enough for all of us. Me having a flag flying doesn’t take away anything from your rights and freedoms,” Evans continued. “But you know what it does for me? It shows me I live in a city that appreciates and embraces me, and the people of my community. And that I can live her and feel safe. … I’m sorry that it doesn’t make you feel comfortable, but we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going away!”
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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com
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