PRIDE SUNDAY: North Dakota columnist Katie Winbauer shares heartwarming story about being an ally

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a five-part series of blog posts, published every Sunday during the month of June, commemorating Pride Month in 2019.

Katie Winbauer, a columnist for The Bismarck Tribune, a newspaper serving the Bismarck, North Dakota area, recently wrote this column about her best friend. While I encourage everyone to read the entire column, I’ll share the first two paragraphs of the column on here:

I met my best friend, Ethan, the first day of seventh grade. We had homeroom together and instantly clicked. People often opined that Ethan and I would get married one day, but as we grew older, people turned to questioning Ethan’s sexual orientation.

My “I don’t know — ask him,” quickly turned to “Why does it matter?” Frankly, it did not matter to me who Ethan was attracted to. That factor did not change the fact that Ethan is the funniest person I know, nor did it affect how caring, passionate and smart he is. It did not make me love him any less; it probably opened my heart to loving him more.


Like Katie, I’m from a conservative-leaning part of the country that is not the first place a typical American thinks of as generally accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community. In the case of the area of the country where I live, I don’t know of a single Pride event scheduled in my home county this month.

Katie’s story about befriending Ethan is a heartwarming story, and I’m proud of people like Katie who are allies of LGBTQIA+ Americans. Compassion and friendship can, and does, cross sexual orientation, gender identity, and romantic orientation boundaries.