Statement in response to #Orlando

Atrocities such as the one committed in Orlando in the early hours of this morning highlight the dangerous consequences of the hate-filled, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric which has become more virulent and common in the past five years. We should resist the urge to rush to label this as an Islamic extremist incident. Rather, our focus should be on offering love and support to the LGBTQ community who are all impacted by the horror of this morning’s event. Further, we should also recognize that no LGBTQ individual in this country is safe as long as homophobic and transphobic rhetoric continue to be spewed by extremists and demagogues. Today’s repulsive events call us to work even more fervently toward creating more inclusive and affirming communities.

We should also feel called to mourn the death of so many of our precious community. As LGBTQ Americans, we have not been immune to the threat of violence and hatred which is minute-by-minute directed at us. This massacre touches all of us, regardless of how directly we are connected to the victims. My heart and prayers are with the victims, their families, and their friends. I cannot begin to imagine the rollercoaster of emotions you are going through at this time. I call upon the LGBTQ community to strengthen tightness and warmth of our embrace, and to grieve together and comfort one another during the difficult days and months ahead. I also call upon us to strengthen our resolve to resist the messages of hatred and violence directed at us and our Muslim sisters and brothers, and to continue our proud fight for equality and acceptance in our United States of America.

Know that I am still firmly resolved to stand in opposition and resistance to transphobia and homophobia both here in North Dakota and throughout the world, and that in our mutual journey towards becoming better versions of ourselves I am, as always, here for you.


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