The recent controversy in Solvang has exposed the ugly truth about the underbelly of bigotry that still exists in this picturesque town. It is a reminder that the struggle against bigotry and hate is ongoing, even in seemingly idyllic places like Solvang.

As a gay man who has personally experienced discrimination in Solvang, I can attest to the fact that the town has a long way to go in terms of fostering a culture of inclusivity and acceptance. Me and a group of friends personally witnessed people on floats throwing Hitler salutes during the Danish Days parade, this is just one glaring example. We haven’t been back since.

It is disheartening to see council member Robert Clarke comfortably say in your March 8th interview, “I don’t know what it is about men dressing as women in front of small children that is inclusive,” he said. “I’ll be called a bigot tomorrow, I’ve been called a bigot before. I don’t care.”

I think this demonstrates all we need to know. This kind of language is not only deeply offensive, but it is also an indicator of what one feels they can say to their constituents.

However, it is heartening to see the mayor of the real Copenhagen taking a stand against this kind of hate. By reminding Solvang that they cannot call themselves a Danish town with Jim Crow sensibilities. The real Copenhagen mayor has shown that there are still people in this world who are willing to stand up for what is right.

In the end, the Solvang secret is out. It is time for the town to confront its past and work towards a more inclusive future. The road ahead will not be easy, but with the support of the community and real leaders who are willing to stand up against hate, Solvang can become the kind of town that truly lives up to its Danish heritage.


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