Dear editor,

I moved back to the Wausau area a few years ago but I was born and raised in Antigo. I want desperately to live in a community that is inclusive and diverse. As an educator and parent, I have watched young adults, including my own children, flee this community, in part because they recognize that working and raising a family in communities that are inclusive and diverse provides more opportunity for them and for their children.

Recent incidents of racism and bigotry in this area have been in the news and shed a very bad light on Marathon County. Most recently LGBTQ youth have been targeted by local religious groups. These groups attempt to insert their religious ideology into public school curriculum in order to devalue, marginalize and question the very existence of LGBTQ youth all in the name of religion.

Many of us remember Jim Nick and his efforts to tackle the teen homelessness epidemic in Wausau. While Nick’s efforts were admirable, as a community we failed to address the fact that a significant number of those homeless teens were homeless because their parents kicked them out for identifying as LGBTQ.

People in our community who are LGBTQ are warriors and are the very bravest among us. They face intolerance, bigotry and ignorance in at fight for their very existence every single day in Marathon County. That is unacceptable.

Culturally incompetent communities do not attract new people or new businesses. Voting no ensures Marathon County remains stagnant in growth both culturally and fiscally and makes us look ignorant and incapable of evolving with the rest of the world.

A great community can grasp the concept that June Dairy Month and Pride Month can both be celebrated. It really should be a “no brainer.”

So I say to you Marathon County ….you have a choice to make…evolve, transform and lead This community forward or fade into the the background. If this board fails to pass this proposal then this community has shown that beliefs that promote hatred and bigotry guide their decisions. Lets see if our county board members are brave enough to stand up to hate and do the right thing.

Being gay is not Choice anymore than the size of your shoes or the color of your eyes.
Being gay is not a choice but being a bigot is.

Christine Salm

Editor’s note: The views of our readers and guest columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot and Review. To submit a letter, email us at editor@wausaupilotreview-newspack.newspackstaging.comor mail letters to 500 N. Third St. Suite 208-8; Wausau, WI 54403.