US councilor stands up for gay rights after listening to flag objections

Some of the residents of the town of Minot, North Dakota, were up in arms this week, because their local council decided to fly the Pride flag in support of the local LGBTIQ community.

Usually Pride celebrations happen in the USA in June to align with the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, but a global pandemic has thrown everything slightly skew-whiff. The local council in Minot decided to raise the flag in September instead.

At their regularly council meeting residents lined up to express their outrage that the Pride flag was flying and their came a point when City Alderwoman Carrie Evans just couldn’t hold back any longer.

In a blunt comeback at the protesters she pointed out that gay people are part of their city too, and she’s one of them.

“I am proudly the first openly elected lesbian in North Dakota. So that is why I am not paying any heed to your crap,” Evans declared. “We, the people. I’m the people. I live in Minot. I am a taxpayer. I am a person. I get to see myself represented on that flagpole.”

“We’re 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.” Evans said.

Evans said that many of the complaints and objections that had been sent to herself and other officials were filled with what could only be described as “hatred and anger”.

“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. 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 here and feel safe.” Evans shot back at those objecting.

The missive came as the councilor sat through a long list of allegations and complaints about the LGBTIQ community.

Some of the residents had complained that the flag should not be flown as it was linked to the Stonewall Riots, and by flying the flag it may lead to Black Lives Matter style riots that have been seen in other cities. Other spoke of a the flag representing a attempt to force people into accepting “gay lifestyles”, and some threatened to re-locate their businesses to other towns over the issue.

One of the speakers against the flag being raised was Josiah Roise, a former two-time contestant on TV show Ninja Warrior. Roise told the Mayor that he had been attempting to get reality TV shows made in the town, but producers would not be hesitant because of the city’s support for the rainbow flag. He then went on to attempt to link the LGBTIQ community to pedophilia.

The town’s local newspaper The Minot Daily News published an editorial siding with the Mayor and the Council, and Magic City Equality – the local LGBTIQ organisation who made the request for the flag to be added.

Evans has released a statement in the video of her frustration going viral around the world. In it she outlines her hope that the town can move on from being a place where LGBTI young people are scared to share their sexuality. On her webpage she shared many of the positive messages she’s received from locals, and people around the globe.

“What happened at the City Council meeting, while painful and difficult, was a necessary rupture in our community. From this rupture, I have full confidence that our community, our Minot, will become stronger and better.” Evans said.

“Since that meeting, the Minot I came home to in 2017 and fell in love with, and am honored to serve, fiercely rose up to stand with the LGBTQ communities of Minot. I have received hundreds of messages from Minoters, North Dakotans, people across North America and around the world. Some of these messages are filled with sadness and despair and the loss of hope in our city.

“Some are from young queer Minoters who are scared and cannot wait to leave this city, some are from queers who did leave and have nothing but horrible memories and the meeting enforced these memories. So for them, I have decided to share some of the beautiful, loving and kind messages I have received so that they, and others, can see the Minot that I love.  This is the Minot that will prevail.”

OIP Staff

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