The administrator of a controversial page speaks out | News, Sports, Jobs

On June 20, the Facebook page, Protect North Dakota Kids, posted a message announcing plans to start a nonprofit, with Keith Hapip Jr. as executive director.

Originally from Bismarck, Hapip lives in Washburn with his wife and family, works as a paramedic and was recently elected to the city commission. Hapip clarified that he speaks only for himself, and not for the other anonymous creators of the page, or the people who follow him.

Hapip pointed to the broader trends occurring across the country in opposition to programming and curriculum promoting and affirming LGBTQ+ lifestyles to children as the impetus to start the page. Events like drag queen story time, drag shows for all ages, and books with LGBTQ+ affirming content have been fodder for culture war participants across the country, and Protect North Dakota Kids is one of many such groups to appear recently.

“Why do we have grown men dressed as women, wearing hardly any clothes, dancing around accepting dollar bills from kids? It’s just such a crazy thing,” Hapi said.

He cited one particular all-ages show in Texas that sparked controversy after images emerged online showing children watching a drag queen show with a sign behind them saying: “It’s not going to lick”, as the “biggest spark” behind the decision to start their crusade. After the 2021 all-ages performance at the Capitol for that year’s Pride, the local drag queen community caught his eye, leading to posts linking their stage characters to their legal identities.

“Our mission statement is in line with Ephesians 5:11, ‘to expose what is evil and defend what is good, in order to expose what we would see as anything contrary to the law or sin of God’ “ Hapi said, “By faith in Christ alone you can be saved. This is our main message, the gospel, but also to oppose what is wrong.

Hapip disagreed with the doxxing charges leveled against him and the PNDK.

“It’s not quite fair because it sets the bar extremely low for what doxxing would be,” Hapi said.“I have been on the Internet for a very long time. Doxxing has always been about personal details that wouldn’t be readily available online. So, home address, phone number, spouse’s name. »

According to Hapip, doxxing involves bigger actions, like contacting employers directly or finding data that can’t be found with a simple Google search. He believes that by circulating only images of the performers and the city in which they live, the Facebook page does not violate any privacy laws, rules or unofficial internet ethics. He also highlighted how accessible and available information and content could be.

“If that qualifies as doxxing, then each of these shows has also doxxed the artists. Doxxing isn’t even a crime. So, I mean, would we do this to try to hurt someone? Absolutely not “, Hapi said.

Hapip claimed that despite thousands of reports and allegations of hate speech, bullying and harassment against the PNDK page, nothing she posted has been removed or deleted by Facebook for violating the rules. The main concern of the page’s critics with posts containing information about the drag queen is that they could potentially incite violence against the performers.

“Obviously we’re breaking some kind of social contract that people think exists, but you know, stop caring for children, that would be my response to that,” Happ said.

Despite receiving threats online, Stacy Sturm, owner of URL Radio and host of drag shows for all ages, has appealed to critics or members of the public to contact her to share their thoughts. concerns.

“The page has caused some people concern. I offered to start a conversation to get feedback and concerns,” Sturm said.

“She was getting a lot of pushbacks at Bismarck. There were different groups operating to really push back the all-ages drag shows that were happening in Bismarck,” Hapi said. “Because of that, she threw down the gauntlet, and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to do this.'”

Hapip and Sturm appeared in a since-deleted live chat. Only a few seconds of that stream exist online in an edited clip currently pinned to the PNDK page, but Sturm recalled the conversation as highly unproductive. From Sturm’s perspective, despite Page’s claims that “protect” children, their actions actually harmed LGBTQ+ youth.

“The Trevor Project says gay teens are 40% more likely to avoid suicide with at least one friend.” Sturm said. “I had numbers and statistics; it had Bible verses. His problem is with gay children. He thinks you can pray for gays to go away. In fact, they harm children with what they do, without helping them or parents to get help.

Minot-based drag queen Kara Fiyera attempted to communicate publicly and privately with Hapip before revealing her involvement, but found the gap between their worldviews unsolvable.

“I left my bullies in high school. We’re mostly scared of things we don’t understand. Their group doesn’t understand what Drag is and what Gay Agenda really is. And I don’t understand them. Like, I was raised a Lutheran, and I went to church. I get it,” Fiyara said. “They are choosing the Bible, which in itself is disgusting, to attack a group of people who are already not the safest group of people.”

North Dakota’s LGBTQ+ communities focused on Hapip after his exposure, finally having an actual human being to associate with the DKNP and its activities.

With some basic Googling, his detractors were able to discover that he had a side business selling woodworking projects online and at local small businesses in downtown Bismarck. Several retailers posted messages on social media to dissociate themselves from Hapip, saying they would no longer sell its wares. Efforts by activists to pressure Hapip in retaliation also began to intensify.

“There were people who posted my address. There have been people contacting my employer, the state EMT board, the Washburn City Commission. They called and emailed the city. Basically anything I could be connected to from the outside,” Hapi said. “I don’t care. I love Jesus. I’m going to stand up for him and I’m going to have my opinions.

He described the pressure he faces from the drag community as “intimidation.” When asked if there was any conflict on his part for blasting other small business owners like he did, Hapip said he had none, admitting that his post had probably sent them more business than anything else.

“If you are going to publicly support something, you should publicly defend your support for something. If you’re going to stick your neck out, don’t be surprised if people ask about it, that’s all we just did. We simply ask the question, “Why are all these companies supporting drag shows for all ages on the steps of the Capitol?” »

The conflict between the two groups shows no sign of abating, with both redoubling their efforts to expose and deter the other. In the weeks that followed, Protect North Dakota Kids focused on other drag performances in other cities that would be open to all ages, which only fueled the flame wars that have erupted in his comment sections.

Hapip says the group plans to file documents to formalize the formation of its organization around October, with a blog, podcast and other projects underway for the future.

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