We’re neighbors, not new people

We’re neighbors, not new people

By KEVIN TENGESDAL Bismarck Aug 31, 2014

In a Gallup article titled “North Dakota: Legendary among states,” in discussing if our state is a “Good place for gay or lesbian people,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple suggests, “There’s a tendency for people not being immediately comfortable with new people until they have had a chance to meet them and evaluate them. We’re evolving every year and becoming more accustomed to different people and lifestyles.”

Citizens of North Dakota, we the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) constituents of North Dakota are not some “new people” who must be evaluated before we are afforded equal and fair treatment.

We are your neighbors and family members who have grown up here in North Dakota, established our careers and livelihood here. You have known us since birth. We are strongly involved as participating members of society, and a viable component of daily life in North Dakota.

Currently the “North Dakota Nice” climate affords undue discrimination against LGBT citizens and their families. We are not allowed the same protection against discrimination concerning employment or housing laws as our heterosexual counterparts.

In current state law, there are no groups defined as protected from the act of bullying. The human privilege of marriage in a legal commitment to one another is only of the legal union between a man and a woman.

It is stated that if people less than tolerant of LGBT would meet us, they would become accepting.

Neglect the fact the word “tolerant” is something said of traffic jams and migraine headaches, I suggest there is an additional need: Straight allies need to tell their straight associates they too stand for equal and fair treatment of their LGBT friends and family members.

Once the citizens of North Dakota realize not only LGBT are asking for such dignity, but straight folk are as well, hopefully the climate in North Dakota will become evolved and welcoming, sooner than later. Maybe?


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