It’s Pride month and swarms of LGBTQ folx will be heading to Pride events somewhere. Gay men flocking to sunny destinations to shed as much clothing as legally possible, trans kids enjoying their ability to be surrounded by others like them for what may be the first time, and countless others reconnecting with friends they have made. It is a time for celebration and remembrance.
For me, this year, I am filled with anger and sadness instead. We just survived a four year presidency where the small minded, vitriol fueled anger, and simple minded prejudice was allowed to fester and rear its head to the full sunlight. It has grown in the hearts of those that felt like someone in authority held the same beliefs as they do. It has given purchase for the very rights of those that have been persecuted for years to be persecuted again. Abortion rights are on the ballot for being removed from women. Transgender people are facing new uphill battles in many states for their very right to live and be who they are. LGBTQ people are witnessing a resurgence of hate speech and violent acts that haven’t been seen for a few years.
This is why I am filled with anger and sadness this pride season.
Hatred at Home
There is no illusion here, we live in a Republican centered state. The only reprieve we enjoy is that Cleveland is much more progressive than the rest of the state. If you have been reading the Buckeye Flame, you have seen the reporting about how Ohio is moving away from flying Pride flags in most locales in light of the recent Supreme Court decision about not being able to fly flags that the city owns or has control over. This ruling came down in Boston, MA in the case Shurtleff v. Boston, essentially, the only flags that will be allowed to fly on state property are the American flag, state flag, or city flags. The ruling came after a group requested to fly a Christian flag outside of city hall.
I was not aware that Christians had a flag or that a religion needed a symbol. Isn’t that akin to idolatry?
We also have seen stories about the recent HB 616 hearing. If you aren’t in the know, HB 616 is Ohio’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. A bill that is chocked full of so much ambiguous language that it could be used to fuel the fires for anything anyone can deem offensive. The line “any other concept that the state board of education defines as divisive or inherently racist” should scare most citizens.
The quote that stands out the most to me was made by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland), “We want nothing more than to allow our children to be taught the factors and learn necessary information to prepare them for life.” To make this point a little more clear, Rep. Schmidt is in full support of HB-616. Apparently, teaching children about racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion are things that children do not need to learn to function as adults. Schmidt would be an advocate of programming our children to listen and not challenge beliefs they do not hold unto themselves, to have the government tell them what to think and believe. This bill would also remove teachings in ALL grades about sexual orientation and gender identity. It allows the government and school board to deem what is age or developmentally appropriate for children.
Should we allow any school board to decide what is or is not divisive or inherently racist?
There have been four hearings on this particular bill that would deny gender-affirming care for trans youth. The short version of this bill is that any Ohio school staff that “assumes” a child is transgender is compelled to tell their parents or legal guardians. It goes further to establish that healthcare professionals are prohibited from providing gender-affirming care to any children.
This bill also removes possibility of sharing life saving information to patients looking for gender-affirming care. Information that may be needed in helping a child understand who they are and what they are going through and provide needed resources and avenues for care.
Those that support the denying of this care feel it allows teachers, healthcare, and other official to “groom” children to become transgender. They feel that doctors, teachers, and trans supporters are actively recruiting 4 year olds for gender reassignment surgery and hormone replacement therapies. Instead of trying to help them understand what they are going through.
One comment that needs to be fully understood is this, “One of the unintended consequences of the passing of HB 454 is that all Medicaid funding would be stripped from Children’s Hospitals, and that is 54% of the patient base that we serve.” The approval of HB 454 would, in effect, remove avenues of affording needed healthcare from children due to the removal of Medicaid funding. Imagine parents being told that a life saving care is not available for them because they cannot afford it. Why? Because of some outmoded believe that doctors are grooming kids to be transgendered. Again, an oversimplification.
Silence = Death
Not since the 1980s has this slogan carried such weight. ALL people that sit here and say “well this bill doesn’t affect me because I am not LGBTQ and I dont have kids that are transgendered” are a part of the problem. Your silence will equal the death of so many people and one day will visit your door.
Bills such as HB 616 and 454 will at some point have an effect on every single one of us, in some fashion. With HB 616, it is allowing prejudice to fester in the hearts of people and find outlets for their anger. HB 454 will, ultimately, have a direct effect on healthcare of all children. The problem with hatred is that it is a narrow field of view. It allows the person to focus on the very thing they do not agree with, for various reasons, without the broader picture of how it will eventually touch everyone.
A War on LGBTQ
We are witnessing a rise in hate crimes towards the LGBTQ communities. There have been mass statements on places like YouTube and Twitter from extremist groups proclaiming that they will be openly targeting LGBTQ people during June, Pride month. Many have come out saying they would actively hunt and kill any they find. They have stormed stores that support LGBTQ people during Pride month, like Target, and have trashed displays and created hate filled scenes about why they are supporting sinners and abominations.
Weekend of Jun 11th and 12th, 2002, 31 White supremacists, Patriot Front, were arrested for what was supposed to be a riot at a Pride event in Idaho. On the scene, authorities found a U-Haul full of riot gear, smoke grenades, and shirts that stated to “Reclaim America.” This is a group that actively targets people in public settings like Grocery stores, schools, Theaters, and Pride events. What’s more is that few are safe. If Patriot Front suspects you of being LGBTQ or a supporter.
Rebel Wilson’s Forced Outing
The world has taken a weird swing, through the years. With the advent of journalism, we were able to find out personal information of people in “limelight.” We saw celebrities lose their private lives to the front pages of tabloid magazines. As the years have moved forward, more information is given to the public and we demand even more.
With the advent of social media and people constantly providing up to the minute outtakes of their day, we feel like we HAVE to know what is going on with people. We MUST know what their personal lives are, who they date, and what they believe in. If they do not align with the values we think they should have, we turn on them.
Journalists also feel it is their duty to share anything and everything about a celebrity’s personal life. A good example is the recent announcement from Rebel Wilson that she is in a relationship with what she has called her “Disney Princess.” Her coming out was made to happen due to an article that the Sydney Morning Herald threatened to go public with. Wilson stated that she had no intention of making any official statement about her love life, had the newspaper not forced her hand.
Problems with Pride
As LGBTQ people, our very existence flies in the face of what a few consider normal. We have always fought for who we are. We have weaponized sexuality in our fights because we have been viewed as repulsive and, in some views, immoral or sinful. But this is one of the many things that cause rifts in the LGBTQ community.
Every year I hear the same lines thrown out, “keep sex out of Pride.”I have always found that entertaining because it is how the heteronormative community views our sex lives that has forced our movement forward so many times. The Stonewall Riots are a prime example of how our sexuality and how others viewed it has forced our movement forward.
Instead, now we strive to become “normal” or to be accepted as the same as our heteronormative counterpart. Let us not forget that our sexuality is still in direct opposition to the beliefs held so dear by a small but overwhelming influential group of people.
Perhaps it is time that we move backward and think about weaponizing those very same traits, again.
June is the month where we, as LGBTQ people, should have the time to reflect on how far we have come in our struggles for equality. A time to reconnect with our community, to become stronger, and to celebrate for a brief moment in time. It is a short time each year where we see how strong we are and that we are part of a grand design.
To the Future
The last four years has allowed the small minded bigots to reclaim their power. Led by a president that held no views other than what could make him money at a given time. A leader who was absent those that put him in power while simultaneously riling them up in a fervor that only needed a point to focus their hatred on.
It’s far easier to be complacent and only look at how far we have come, what has been achieved. The truth is that it no longer serves us. We need to adopt the older mindset that we need to regroup for what more we have to do going forward. Stop the internal conflicts we have, embrace each of our LGBTQ family for their differences and lift them up for them. Our enemy hasn’t changed, it’s only taken a newer form. Now, more than ever, we need to double down on our fight against stupidity and hatred. If we don’t, when they come for the next group there will not be anyone left to fight. The few will dominate the many.
3 thoughts on “Does Pride Matter in 2022”
Keith . . . first of all let me commend you for work done on your FB page . . . I find it to be highly informative, especially since I am a Gay male who is always interested in national and international news when it comes to understanding LGBTQ+ communities . . . For me, Pride 2022 does matter . . . Pride will always matter. I am waiting for the day when humans can genuinely envision and discover the best in all of us, individual contributions that can make LGBTQ+ people and those who are not, create a world that personifies human caring. No, I am not a dreamer . . . I can understand why you are angry and sad . . . as more human choices are being removed from our nation’s ‘table’ . . . Actually, I am afraid of what is currently transpiring in our political arena . . .I have even considered becoming an expatriate, however, choosing to do so would not support or help LGBTQ+ efforts to pursue equality, freedom . . . life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as other privileged folks have the right to do. I remain hopeful that human right will ultimately defeat human wrong . . . that continued efforts to help all see that we are not simply gay, straight, black, white . . . but rather individuals who are known for nurturing the best in us rather than the worst . . .
Thank you for your words. While it seems tantalizing, from the outside, to leave the country to some place safer, we must realize that the world, in general, is hostile towards the queer community. Even in the Ukraine, they actively hunt queer people for persecution. Many countries it is legal to kill LGBTQ people. Staying here and fighting for our community and the greater community at large is our best defense. We have to get back into demanding our rights and not waiting for the dominant ruling groups to give us handouts.
I am going nowhere and neither are friends and family whom support LGBTQ+ rights as human beings . . . thank you for your response . . .