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LGBTQ people have suffered much harassment and bullying. We should not join in. Instead, we should stand up.

When one person stands up, a community stands up. When a community stands up, a state stands up. When a state stands up, a country stands up. When a country stands up, a continent stands up. When a continent stands up, the world stands up. And when the whole world stands up, the world changes.

The change we want to happen is that LGBTQ people don't have to face threats just because of who they are.

You may not know what it feels like to be bullied just because you're LGBTQ, but if you do, make sure that you and others don't have to feel it again by standing up for LGBTQ people. When I was 7 years old, I was still figuring out if I was a lesbian or not. In my class there was this thing when people would flip an eraser and one side said yes, and the other said no, and the middle said maybe. Someone in my class said, "Am I a lesbian: yes or no?" It landed on yes. Everyone who heard it looked surprised, but I didn't know if I was lesbian or not. Later on in the school year, someone brought up the word "lesbian" and said I was lesbian. I said, "So you got a problem with that?" He said, "Only weird people are lesbian." I started crying with sadness and rage. I ran to the peace corner to get peace. After that he called me "weird lesbian" for the rest of the day. I wanted to never forgive him, but I eventually forgave him. Forgiveness is the key to friendship.

Being LGBTQ is one of the things that makes you, you. If someone makes fun of that, shame on them. Being LGBTQ is a part of your own body. If someone is making you feel bad for being LGBTQ, just remember that you are only yourself if you're LGBTQ. Being LGBTQ leads you to your true gender and love.

S.K.H.I., age 8

The writer is a third-grader whose name is withheld because of her age and the sensitivity of the subject.


Non-physicians can safely provide it

As other states consider legislation to lift prohibitions on non-physicians providing abortion care ("With Roe in doubt, states weigh letting nurses do abortions," StarTribune.com, June 1), Gender Justice, in partnership with The Lawyering Project, has filed a lawsuit, Doe v. Minnesota, to strike down Minnesota's outdated 1974 law that makes it a felony for non-physicians to provide abortion care. The plaintiffs in Doe v. Minnesota include a certified nurse midwife who seeks to provide abortion care for her patients but, as a non-physician, is barred from doing so on threat of criminal prosecution.

Extensive medical evidence shows that advanced practice clinicians and other non-physician providers can provide medication and aspiration abortion as safely and effectively as physicians. Numerous medical societies and professional organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the World Health Organization, endorse advanced practice clinicians providing abortion care.

Other laws undermining abortion access in Minnesota that we challenge in our lawsuit include requirements that physicians make inaccurate and irrelevant statements about abortion to patients; waiting periods that delay care; and onerous parental notification requirements for minors. These laws are not only medically unnecessary and harmful to people who seek abortion care, they are unconstitutional. The 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision Doe v. Gomez enshrined abortion access as a fundamental right in our state, noting that "few decisions" are "more intimate, personal, and profound than a [person's] decision between childbirth and abortion."

Regardless of the fate of Roe, abortion is a protected right in Minnesota under our state constitution. Doe v. Minnesota has the potential to ensure that this right exists in practice, without the interference of medically irrelevant and unlawful barriers to care.

Jess Braverman, St. Paul

The writer is legal director at Gender Justice.


I am a 17-year-old high school student with the hopes of living to see abortion outlawed in our country. And yes, I am a devoted Catholic (unlike our president), but regardless of my religious beliefs, abortion is quite clearly something that ought to be eradicated from merely a scientific and logical perspective in accord with the Constitution. The United States Declaration of Independence stated that each human being has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is horrible that we have fallen so far from this value so as to deny these fundamental rights to the most vulnerable of our society — the unborn.

As soon as it is conceived, that baby has its own DNA and life. This is not merely a religious ideal, as many have tried to claim, including Stephen B. Young ("Of abortion rights, religious freedoms," Opinion Exchange, May 29). This is a scientific fact — one that we really ought to care about. As a teenager growing up in this broken world, it is horrifying to me that people could even consider slaughtering their own children so that they can continue to do what they feel like. It is the duty of the government to protect this fundamental right to life.

As St. John Paul II fittingly said, "A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope." I pray that we will one day soon return to the fundamental values upon which our great country was founded and reject the terrible crime of abortion.

Elli Doll, Stillwater


Could the absolutist view on abortion — think Texas and Oklahoma with abortion banned after six weeks — actually be ironically dehumanizing? Think, regard, imagine, remember parents of what it takes to actually raise a child: the care, the effort, the sympathy, the learning, the sacrifice, the imagination, the mystery and the learning on part of both parent and child. How to regard all of this task of humanization if we fail to make distinctions of conception, zygote, "quickening," viability and personhood. And yes, of abortion at the earliest stage, we are taking human life — what else could it be: animal life, plant life, cosmic life? Thus, abortion involves sacrifice: one sacrifice for another sacrifice. This is the human dilemma that we must face in our ever falling upward to form conscience and become persons. In light of this human journey, why desire the state to intercede at the early stage of development to nullify the work of moral discernment on part of the individual and make legal what should be of soul and spirit?

The Rev. Daniel V. Pearson, St. Paul


A sweet coincidence

What a pleasant surprise to read John Reinan's "Raising cash with cookie dough" (June 11), especially since this past week I have literally been planning the details of a future road trip to Eagle Bend with one of my daughters. As artist in residence (profiled in the Minneapolis Tribune "Picture" magazine in 1972) in my early 20s, I had lived in this small town with my young family. We had bought a home there with a couple of acres. We were hardworking, involved in the community and lived a hippie-like (but drug-free), relatively frugal but happy, creative, idyllic life, including organic gardening and raising bees. I was happy to see mention of some of the people I had known from that time, including the inspiring teacher, the late Kay Nelson, and Sharon Harris (who had once actually kindly babysat the aforementioned daughter).

When we visit, we will plan to buy some, but not too many, cookies ... if any are available.

Patrick Michael Redmond, St. Paul