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Katherine Young, Orlando, Fla., Published March 20 2013

Letter: All eyes on my native ND

I was lucky enough to grow up in North Dakota and lived there until I was 24. But looking around I didn’t see a path for me and moved away to pursue my big-city dreams. With a small population and a guaranteed win for the Republican vote in North Dakota, we barely make national headlines unless being mocked for being backward redneck inbreeds. However, growing up there means I know this is not true.

Yes, we were all drinking underage and a third of my graduating class had children before they could legally drink. But we take care of each other and love our neighbors in a way the rest of the country will never understand. We have a work ethic that is unmatched, and we find joy in all the small things in life that others are too busy to see.

I am always proud to tell people where I am from and have just grown to expect questions about Mount Rushmore as par for the course. No one really knows anything about our state, but why should they? Have we done anything to be nationally recognized for besides our recent oil boom? The answer is, yes.

We are now a state that is going backward while the nation is trying to move forward. I am seeing headlines for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community being pushed aside. I am watching while we are going backward over 40 years as if Roe v. Wade didn’t happen.

I understand that we are seen as backward, but we really don’t have to prove it. I know we are all stubborn, but I am now questioning if we North Dakotans are really as good to our neighbors as I once thought.

We generally don’t like government to be in our lives. So why are we letting government take away our rights? Why are we all so quiet?

We were all raised in middle-income Christian households. So love thy neighbor and tell them that you don’t want to limit their rights. Don’t judge them because they don’t believe as you do and take a look around at the consequences to the future of staying quiet. What legacy do you want to leave? Will you boast on how you limited their rights just as you did about the buck you got last deer season?

My North Dakota is “Legendary” for all the right reasons. We are not ignorant, and we can see the broader picture despite what others may say. Please take a look at these bills from a broader picture. Separate church from state and move forward. Please write your legislator and be vocal. Don’t let rights be taken away. You are better than what you are letting happen. That is right. I said it. You are letting this happen. North Dakota, you are letting this happen.

As of right now, I am glad I moved away. I have more rights than you do. Are you going to take that, North Dakotans?

North Dakota native Young lives in Orlando, Fla.