Annette Gross, our state coordinator for Indiana, responded to a recent email featured on Bilerico, which questions the need for pride parades. Below is her response.
Question sent to Bilerico
From: Sam Riddick
Message: If you are so normal, why do you people have Gay Pride Month? I'm a heterosexual and I feel neither proud or ashamed. I certainly don't need a month dedicated to make me feel good about it. The fact you need your bumper stickers, parades, and entire months shows that you really need some reinforcement that you aren't just a bunch of crazy people. Until that crap stops, I will treat all gays like they are mentally diseased.
Today Bil Browning spoke to our PFLAG group, which is a mixed group of both straight and LGBT people and asked for our membership to respond to a recent email he received questioning the need for LGBT Pride.
First off, you can't mess with a PFLAG parent. We love our LGBT children unconditionally. My gay son has done nothing in his life that I am ashamed of. He is a wonderful person and I will stand up for him until the day I fall down and die.
Why is there a LGBT Pride parade and festival. Well, I'd like to ask this person if he has ever been discriminated against. As a Jewish person, I have been a victim of discrimination. It's a horrible, demeaning experience. Jews know first-hand what it's like to be excluded. Now it seems that it's fashionable to discriminate against the LGBT community. Many people think that LGBT people won't fight back. But times have changed and they are fighting back. And.....many in the straight community are fighting back with them. At PFLAG, we call them “straight allies.” They know there is injustice in the world and they are right there with their LGBT friends and neighbors.
The reason, as I see it, why there is a LGBT Pride Festival, is that this gives the LGBT community a day where they can be themselves and not have to hide who they are. They can hold hands with their same-sex partner and not feel as if they're doing something wrong. They feel free to express who they are without being judged.
Maybe one day when LGBT people are no longer discriminated against, a LGBT Pride Festival will no longer be needed. Actually, I would love to see these festivals continue - I have an awful lot of fun at them - I get to see people I haven't seen in a year and we can catch up.
I'm sorry you feel the way you do about the LGBT community. It's too bad you're not willing to open up your heart and mind to people who are different from you. Many years ago, my family lived in Naples, Italy. My husband was a Naval officer. We had to learn how to get along in a new community. My husband's commanding officer said to us one day - "We're not better than them, we're just different." Perhaps you can view the LGBT community like that. We are all different and our country is made up of a tapestry of various peoples and cultures. I suggest you try to open your eyes and see the world from a different perspective.