Colorful wooden sculptures of animals have been placed throughout downtown Orono to celebrate Pride Month. Credit: Natalie Williams

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

We need leaders who understand the lives of LGBTQ Mainers and who are guided by the fundamental values of equality and social justice. Mike Tipping will work hard for LGBTQ residents in Senate District 8 and beyond.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are disproportionately affected by disparities in access to healthcare, affordable housing, education, and living wages. Discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people has increased dramatically over the past few years. It’s never been more important to elect leaders who will amplify the voices and experiences of marginalized members of our communities.

As a psychiatric provider specializing in trans-affirming and Q positive mental healthcare, I am all too familiar with the challenges LGBTQ folks face everyday. Tipping has worked to close gaps in healthcare access and quality of care delivered, thereby improving patient outcomes and well-being. He has also worked on wage, caregiving, education, and housing policies that will help protect LGBTQ Mainers.

As the president of Orono Pride, a community based nonprofit organization that centers on LGBTQ representation, affirmation, and celebration, I have witnessed Tipping generously donate his time, creativity, and materials to our community projects (as a disclosure, his wife is a member of our board). Last year, he designed and constructed one of the wooden animals for the “Pride Zoo,” an art installation that has become a beloved staple in our town. More importantly, he advocates for policies at the local, state and national level to advance civil rights and protect LGBTQ children.

Mike Tipping is the best choice to help create a safe, fair and affirming future for everyone in Maine. I invite people to vote with me on June 14.

Ash Cardurns

Orono

Election notice: The BDN will stop accepting letters and commentary related to the June 14 primary election on Friday, June 10. Not all submissions can be published.