Minot, North Dakota has banned any flags other than official American and state flags from being flown on city property after some residents threw a fit that the rainbow flag was flown to honor Pride month.
While supporters wanted the Pride flag taken down, the new policy means the NRA flag will not be flown this month. The town will develop a policy to decide what flags can be flown and where.
While the banner for the rightwing gun advocacy group won’t fly over city hall this week, the rainbow flag has already been removed since the designated time for it has expired. Instead, students at Minot State University raised a pride flag on campus.
The POW/MIA flag was also supposed to fly this month, but the anti-LGBTQ residents’ demands have also killed the show of respect for American veterans. There were no plans to fly the pride flag again this year.
In an epic clapback to a homophobic resident, city councilor Carrie Evans made national news earlier this month when she came out and publicly chastised a man during the last council meeting.
“So Mr. Walker, if you’re not aware,” Evans started, “and I think a lot of people in this room are not aware, and have come here just because this is a gay issue, I am proudly the first openly elected lesbian in North Dakota. So that is why I am not paying any heed to your crap.”
“We, the people. I’m the people. I live in Minot. I am a taxpayer. I am a person. I get to see myself represented on that flagpole just as much as the people who got the Juneteenth flag last month, as much as the POW/MIA will get later this month.”
“Every single person is entitled to see themselves represented,” she continued. “We are not some group of people who live in San Francisco or Seattle. We are here. We are your elected officials. We are your brothers. we are your sisters, and don’t tell me you’re not hatred or anger. That’s all I feel. I’ve had to listen to it for days now, as has the mayor and many of my colleagues. It is unacceptable.”
“This city is big enough for all of us. Me having a flag flying does not take away anything from your rights. But you know what it does for me? It shows me I live in a city that appreciates and embraces me, and my community. And I can live here and feel safe. That’s what it does. I’m sorry that it doesn’t make you feel comfortable, but we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going away!”
“Things would seem to have escalated around the community a bit” since the contentious meeting, Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma told KFYR-TV.
“Not only as an openly gay woman, but as a born-and-raised citizen of Minot I was deeply disappointed by the homophobic display put on by citizens at last week’s meeting,” Riley Held told the council this week. Held has moved to Minnesota, but returned to speak at the second meeting.
Editor’s Note: This story originally indicated that the flag was moved to the Minot State University campus. Students and faculty are flying that flag on their own.