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ND Pride Takes Celebration to State Capitol

For first time, Pride Month will be celebrated on the lawn of North Dakota's Capitol. (Dustin White/Dakota OutRight)
For first time, Pride Month will be celebrated on the lawn of North Dakota's Capitol. (Dustin White/Dakota OutRight)
June 7, 2019

BISMARCK, – Pride Month is coming to North Dakota's capital city next weekend.

The state's LGBTQ community has events planned June 14 through 16 in Bismarck, including a riverboat cruise, drag show and multi-faith service and potluck. The community also is taking the celebration to the State Capitol lawn for the first time.

Matt Liedholm is treasurer with the group Dakota OutRight, which hosts Capital Pride. He says Pride used to take place outside of town, and having it in front of the Capitol is important because it shows the community feels comfortable there.

"Let's go to the most visible symbol of our community and have it there,” says Liedholm. “So that went into our thinking. So much of our fight is in that state Capitol here in North Dakota and so, let's bring our celebration there as well."

Pride on the Capitol lawn is June 15 at 11 a.m.. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot in New York City – often recognized as the beginning of the modern-day LGBTQ movement.

New York's police commissioner recently apologized for the department's treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender patrons of the Stonewall Inn, who became fed up with harassment and pushed back against police in June 1969. Liedholm says the community in North Dakota no longer deals with harassment like that, but often faces other indignities.

"Incorrect marriage certificates, struggles with adoption, struggles with employers and landlords, things like that,” says Liedholm. “We see this as a continuation of that struggle, which was formally started 50 years ago and absolutely continues today."

Liedholm also believes state legislators have ramped up anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in recent years, which he doesn't think matches North Dakotans' welcoming spirit. For the fifth session in a row, lawmakers voted down a measure that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in areas like employment and housing.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND