I’m From Willmar, MN.

by Ian Bloomquist

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

Around my eighteenth birthday in October ’08, a very dear friend of mine, Morgan, was killed by a drunk driver. She was so much inspiration to me, and claiming to be bisexual, was really the driving force that encouraged me to come out earlier that year.

More than a year later, when the Prop. 8 trials in California were underway, I became a real vocal entity in my community about the push for gay rights. Willmar, as readers may or may not know, is the host of the Sonshine Festival, one of the largest Christian rock festivals in the country, and the community shares these sentiments, to a degree I have yet to see anywhere else in Minnesota.

A few days into the coverage of the Prop. 8 trials, I quoted on my Facebook page a comment made by one of the attorneys; something along the lines of gay marriage not destroying the foundation of marriage but strengthening it. Needless to say, this did not go over well, and I quickly received responses about how wrong I was, how it wasn’t God’s plan, etc. I, aside from one or two friends, was completely alone in my fight, and the intensity grew when Morgan’s mother jumped into the argument, saying that it was her “motherly” duty to tell me that being gay is wrong and just a choice and so on, and that if Morgan were alive, she would be saying the same thing.

By about this time, my mother, accompanied by a dear friend of hers, returned from work, and I told them about this “Facebook war” happening on my news feed. She immediately went to her computer and chastised Morgan’s mother for using her dead daughter as a crutch to fight her fights, and that I have a mother who loves me “the way God made” me. Her friend, too, argued in my favor, referring to herself as my “other mother” just to be amusing. Shortly after, about a dozen friends of mine either argued publicly in my favor or texted me and apologized for how horrible I was being treated. Needless to say, the nay-sayers’ flames were shortly extinguished.

It hurts me to this day to have read what Morgan’s mother has written to me, and to know that she truly did not know her daughter the same ways I did, but I can sleep easily every night, resting on the fact that my friends – my REAL friends – and my family will always be there to look after and protect me, even if some of them are in Heaven.

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