This week is the 50th anniversary of Gay Pride and of the men who fought back when the police raided the Stonewall Inn bar in 1969. It is amazing to me how it has become so part of the landscape of the U.S.
Back then, the gay men that fought back the police raid were just a few people, but now it is a large movement. On Friday the New York Times ran an article titled "Tale of Two Pride Parades: Clash of Values causes a deep divide." Back in 1969, having corporate sponsorship for a pride parade would have been unthinkable. Now, there are two parades. Companies are realizing that there is money to be made off of the gay community and are anxious to sponsor something as simple as a parade.
My brother and his wife used to take their children to the parade in New York City – which is where Stonewall happened in 1969 – because he wanted his children to see what a movement can do and how much fun it could be. The children loved it. Their house was right around the corner from the Stonewall Inn and the Gay Liberation Monument, which is a park and has a monument that was commissioned in 1979 by a non-profit in Cleveland, Ohio (10 years after the Stonewall Inn riots). The monument was designed and executed by the sculpture artist George Segal. The monument shows two couples – one of two females and one of two males – in poses which are clearly gay but non-sexual. The sculptures were finished in 1980.
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Now, before I get a ton of emails quoting the Bible, I want to tell you about a Lutheran Church I saw last week outside Los Angeles. It was called "Lutheran Church of the Master" and it had a gay pride flag flying next to an American flag. On the bottom of the sign announcing the service schedule, it also had wording in bold all caps letters saying "Love one another." So, at least some of the Christian faithful recognize gay pride.
Back in the 1970s there was a questionnaire floating around that asked some interesting questions. It was developed by two women for Dignity, a gay Catholic group. It said "What do you think cause your heterosexuality? When and how did you decide you were heterosexual? Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex? If you've never slept with a person of the same sex, is it possible that all you need is a good gay lover? To whom have you discussed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react? Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep it quiet? Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex? There seems to be very happy homosexuals. Techniques have been developed which might enable you to change if you really want to. Have you considered aversion therapy?"
Even though the Trump administration is not allowing U.S. embassies to fly the gay rainbow flag, some embassies and missions/ consulates are defying the Trump administration and flying the flag anyway. It is being flown in Vienna, Seoul, India and Chile. Now, you can go after the Trump administration, and (as anyone who reads this knows) I do, but Ambassador Richard Grenell, who is openly gay, said this: "The President's recognition of Pride Month and his tweet encouraging our decriminalization campaign gives me even more pride to once again march in the Berlin Pride parade, hang a huge banner on the side of the Embassy recognizing our pride, host multiple events at the Embassy and the residence, and fly the gay pride flag."
There are still countries that kill gay people for being gay. The Islamic state will kill gay people no matter where they operate from. Yemen (which imprisons women for up to seven years), Iran, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan. I have been to several of these countries and was told by my "handler" in Saudi Arabia that his first sexual experience was by the mother of his friend when he was just a teenager! Homosexuality is punishable by death, but what about the mother of this guy sent to be our "guide" by the embassy? We are fighting in Afghanistan but for what? There is no such thing as equal rights there.
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It is time that we all celebrate pride; and as the Lutheran church in Los Angeles says, "Love one another."