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Letters to the editor March 20

| March 20, 2023 12:00 AM

Legislative overreach

Through our 65 years in the Flathead, attending St. Matthews Catholic Church and Flathead High School, we’ve learned that we knew many LGBTQ+ folks throughout Montana. Years ago, many weren’t given the opportunity to live freely, were forced to move away, some committed suicide. Having transgender and gay members in our families has educated us. The openness today of the conversation is incredibly important at saving lives (don’t worry, no one is going to “catch the gay” because they heard the words). Following misguided fear using Christianity, the Montana Legislature is attacking LGBTQ+ folks, picking on those that deserve our love and support.

HB359 was intended to ban prurient drag shows from children; suggesting drag performers and LGBTQ+ folks are prurient (adj. encouraging excessive sexual interest), is simply not true. We support Rep. Zooey Zephyr’s amendments which would protect children from “any prurient person or show.”

SB99 prohibiting gender care for minors, has now been amended to acknowledge that there can be many gender variables within each individual; chromosomal makeup, testosterone levels, etc, so why not leave it up to the individuals in the privacy of their doctor’s office. We support eliminating SB99 entirely.

Legislative overreach will cause more lawsuits, suicides, overfilled closets, even may enrage a few to be violent toward the LGBTQ+ community. You won’t stop people from being who they are in their own skin; two spirit, intersex (those born with both genitalia), transgender, gay, lesbian, non binary, it’s seldom black and white, these bills won’t change that and the church isn’t going to save us, for God’s sake, those men wear dresses. The LGBTQ+ community is not going away. Stop the hate, let’s work on continued conversation, spreading love, inclusion and being kind to each other.

— Cris Coughlin and Steve Sutherland, Whitefish

Re-elect Jerry Bygren

Flathead Electric Co-op, the board of trustees, co-op members and the entire co-op service area will benefit very positively re-electing Jerry Bygren to the Flathead Electric Board. I say this in all due respect of a man who has been very successful in the past 40 plus years I have known him.

The co-op board position requires an immense amount of individual devotion, skilled work ethics, and knowledge of business practices, all of which I have personally witnessed in Jerry. I have seen his relentless work these past six years on the co-op board, his year after year dedication on the Roundup for Safety Board, his commitment and involvement in projects to make Bigfork a better place to live and his professional abilities to communicate with people in a positive manner.

Jerry Bygren, I am confident, has all the necessary tools to continue to guide and carry out the responsibilities of the position he has committed to and should be re-elected as our Flathead Electric Board member. I urge you to vote for Jerry Bygren in the upcoming election.

— Vern Childers, Bigfork