Why do we need Gay Pride events?

1072

commentary.

This Sunday, June 10th, Penn’s Landing in Philly hosts Gay Pride day in the City of Brotherly Love. Last Sunday, Asbury Park did the same thing here in New Jersey, and Atlantic City will have it’s own version with RisQue Atlantic City, at Resorts, July 4th weekend, starting July 5th to July 9th.

Gay pride made me think of a few things, including this serious question – “Why do people hate me?”

That’s what a 21 year old asked me over dinner last night. He had recently come out, and like many younger members of LGBT youth, he was born into circumstances that left him dangling alone for years…. call him George.

George often contemplated suicide between 6 and 10th grade. “They were calling me ‘queer’ and ‘faggot.’ I didn’t even know what the words meant at first. I just knew I was different and wanted to be normal.”

“Even now, I get picked on with stupid things. My aunt wants to send me to a camp where they ‘pray the gay away.’ “

This ‘camp’ is owned by former Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachman and her husband Marcus.

Another former ‘camp’ participant Andrew Ramirez, who was 17 when he sought help from Bachmann and Associates in suburban Minneapolis in 2004 stated: “[One counselor’s] path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay, and God would forgive me if I were straight.”

“We’re very proud of our business and all job creators in the U.S.,” Michele Bachmann told a reporter when asked about the clinic last Monday.

This simmering fear and loathing of our gay children reaches around the world. The same sentiments about growing up were described to me 4 days ago by a 20 year old Bulgarian student working here for the summer. His mother hopes he ‘outgrows’ homosexuality.

Today, June 7th, the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization released a groundbreaking study of LGBT-identified young people and a corollary study of straight teens that shows tremendous disparities between the two groups.

Among the report’s key findings concerning LGBT youth:

  • 1/3 of our LGBT youth need an adult to talk to 54% have been verbally harassed and called anti-gay names and slurs;
  • 47% of LGBT youth say they do not “fit in” in their community; only 16 percent of straight youth feel that way;
  • 37% of LGBT youth describe themselves as happy, compared to 67 percent of straight youth;
  • 83 percent of LGBT youth believe they will be happy eventually, but only 49 percent believe they can be happy if they stay in the same city or town;
  • 6 in 10 LGBT youth say their family is accepting of LGBT people, while 1/3 say their family is not; LGBT youth are the only minority group born into an enemy camp wherein many families disown them for being who they are;
  • 92 percent say they hear negative messages about being LGBT – 60 percent say those negative messages come from elected leaders.

When asked to describe their most important problem, straight teens talked about grades and college and finances.

On the other hand LGBT teens’ worries were directly related to their identity as LGBT including non-accepting families and bullying.

Follow this link to the full study:

http://www.hrc.org/youth#.T9Dkh7BfGan

Additionally, Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church, located 3283 Providence Mill Rd, Maiden, NC 28650 has a solution – Kill them all:

Worley is seen in the following clip from May 13th preaching for the establishment of concentration camps for gays and the ultimate death of all “queers and homosexuals.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2n7vSPwhSU

Which takes me back to Gay Pride. My Bulgarian friend, asked: “Why do we need it? Why do we have to make it a point to stand out?”

For now, it can be as simple as this. We must show our youth, it’s ok to be gay, it does get better, and we have the same dreams as other Americans.

Remember, a few decades ago there were court cases in Atlantic City where laws forbidding gays to congregate were thrown out as unconstitutional. If people didn’t fight that offense, the whole gay pride parade could still be illegal.

It’s up to us to show the world we stand with them, not against them, in celebrating our differences. It is from our differences that we learn and grow the most.

 

commentary.

This Sunday, June 10th, Penn’s Landing in Philly hosts Gay Pride day in the City of Brotherly Love. Last Sunday, Asbury Park did the same thing here in New Jersey, and Atlantic City will have it’s own version with RisQue Atlantic City, at Resorts, July 4th weekend, starting July 5th to July 9th.

Gay pride made me think of a few things, including this serious question – “Why do people hate me?”