As the Chairman of the Flathead LGBTQ+ Alliance, I feel it is my duty to respond on the behalf of the Alliance because of the letter published in the Daily Inter Lake on Aug. 12. The featured opinion piece contained hostile remarks aimed at the LGBTQ+ community and the children of said community. Not only is this degrading, it is downright wrong.
Words are powerful tools that can harm not just emotionally, but can encourage certain individuals to go out and physically attack others. We know that letters like this are a permission slip to extremists to attack not only the LGBTQ+ community but people of color as well, and it allows them to continue to divide our community as a whole. We as a community cannot allow anyone a platform to control who is allowed to feel safe in public. As someone who has been attacked publicly, simply because I am a homosexual man, I can say wholeheartedly that it is one of the most painful things that a person can go through. It does not matter how much a person hates or dislikes someone, it is not something that I could even wish on my worst enemy.
Furthermore, dehumanizing any group of people, especially children, is fundamentally wrong. Whether or not one agrees with another human’s “lifestyle,” it still does not give anyone the right to dehumanize and demonize others. Using religion as a tool is an even more questionable route, as many local clergy members have spoken out in support of our Alliance and against the use of God’s word for the spreading of hateful ideals. For example, it would be easier to list what Leviticus doesn’t condemn, versus the infinitudes of actions that it does.
The Flathead LGBTQ+ Alliance is a group built on the foundation of unity and bringing the community together through open-mindedness and acceptance. We would like to thank the Kalispell community for sending us nothing but love and support in these rough times. We would especially like to thank the local clergy members for speaking out in support. And we are grateful to Love Lives Here for providing us a way to connect with each other and the community. We would not be able to do what we do without the support of so many diverse members of this community — our community.
— Kedryn McElderry is chairman of the Flathead LGBTQ+ Alliance