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Jesse Hegland, Published July 21 2009

Holier-than-thou attitude tiresome

Marilyn Schoenberg’s July 10 letter is insensitive and disappointing.

First, the reference to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights advocates and activists as terrorists is truly ridiculous, even dangerous. Is it right that a gay man in North Dakota can be fired from his job simply because he is gay? Is it right that a mother in North Dakota was evicted from her apartment simply because she was a lesbian?

GLBT individuals are not monsters. They are your family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors. GLBT individuals are not asking for special rights, only equal rights that are afforded to all other North Dakotans.

Second, I am tired of the “holier than thou” attitude exhibited by individuals like Schoenberg regarding abortion. The decision to get an abortion is taken seriously by all women and often involves complex issues such as rape and incest. Rather than ridiculing women who choose to have an abortion, we should work to prevent unplanned pregnancies and address the circumstances that lead women to seek abortions.

Third, the University of North Dakota nickname/logo issue is not as simple as it may appear. Has Schoenberg spoken with American Indian students at UND who have had to endure racial discrimination related to the name and logo from non-Indian students?

I agree that we need to preserve North Dakota traditions – hard work, kindness, compassion and helping one another. Rather than being critical and divisive, let’s work together to make North Dakota a great place to live for all people.

Hegland, MS, is interim director, North Dakota Human Rights Coalition.