June 2021 marks decades of celebrating LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit Pride Month in our state.
Yet we know Pride isn’t just about the parades, glitter, and festivals. Hear from Adam, ACLU of North Dakota digital media associate, on what Pride is to them. Share what it means to you online with #PrideIs.
Outside of working at the ACLU, Adam is involved in various nonprofits, advocacy groups, and volunteer-led organizations. They attended college at the University of Sioux Falls and has watched the entirety of "Schitt’s Creek" at least three times. When they’re not volunteering, Adam is exploring hiking trails with their partner Sean and their dog, Nina.
Pride is ______. (Fill in the blank)
Pride is action-oriented. It means showing up for our community even when it’s difficult. Whether that’s trekking to Bismarck in the middle of a blizzard or making that tough phone call to a senator to ask they vote no on the latest anti-trans bill, rising up and fighting back is important both during and outside of Pride month.
How does working at the ACLU help you show your Pride year-round?
Working at the ACLU has afforded me so many wonderful opportunities to bring members of my community together over a common issue. Recently, that has been fighting legislation which aimed to harm our community like House Bill 1298, which we successfully killed.
How do you show your Pride year-round?
I show my Pride by being visible. North Dakota often gets a bad rap for being anti-LGBTQ+ (and rightfully so, if you look at recent legislation) but nothing will change if we force ourselves to hide. Keep in mind, visibility is different for everyone. It could be wearing a rainbow pin to a networking event or donning pronouns on a name-tag. Being visible, however you can do it, is important.
What is your go-to song that gets you ready to take action?
Over the last few weeks I have been playing Amber Mark on repeat. Their recent songs are amazing and help me power through the work day.
What do you have to say to politicians who support anti-LGBTQ+ legislation?
In the words of a wise mystic, "Please stop." These policies have no place in the legislature. And if recent events show us anything, if anti-LGBTQ+ politicians come for our community they’ll have to get through all of us -- and we have a history of winning.
What businesses do you see supporting Pride month that should be showing up outside of these 30 days to support queer folks year-round?
I see so many local businesses and national organizations putting out swag, statements, and signage where they exclaim their support for the queer community during the month of June. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this support isn’t welcomed and accepted, it’s great. Yet, companies cannot forget that queer people exist outside of these 30 days. We need companies – local, national, and everywhere in between – to show up when our communities are under attack by politicians.
Keep in mind, showing up can look different for every company. It could be showing up to the capitol to protest with queer South Dakotans, sponsoring a bus ride to Pierre for protesters, or setting up a space in your shop where people can gather and write/call their lawmakers.
How can visibility in local government affect change in Nouth Dakota?
It could save lives. In North Dakota, we have some LGTBQ+ and Two Spirit representation in govenrment, but we need more. Having equal representation in all areas of government will benefit everyone.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
You’ll be alright, you’ll find your people, and you will make it out of the slump you think you are in. Growing up in a small rural town, I didn’t always feel accepted or comfortable being who I am. After coming out at age 7, I wasn’t completely comfortable telling my friends, just my parents, who were thankfully very supportive. It’s their support and open minds that have allowed me to become who I am today.
Join Adam's work to make North Dakota better for everyone my taking the Pride Pledge today!