Yesterday was a beautiful day spent in Seattle celebrating some of the people closest to me at the annual PRIDE parade! The weather had been terrible the entire week prior but once Sunday rolled along the clouds parted and we were allowed a few hours of sunshine to laugh and dance and be in the presence of thousands of people supporting the gay community! I have been the past several years and while it has always been an amazing time this year seemed just a little bit more important in the scheme of things given the political events that have been happening very recently. But all in all it was a day filled with familiar traditions and relaxed fun.
The only thing I can say was different about this year as opposed to the last few was that while there are always a few protesters scattered here and there they are usually peaceful and just stand there and hold their stupid signs outside of the parade, but this year they apparently grew a larger set of balls and stood at the entrance of the Seattle center waiting for everyone to pour in. While in previous years I cant remember the protesters ever even speaking, and the festival goers leaving them alone for the most part, this year there was hate being spewed at each other from both sides. I am in no way defending the protesters or saying what they stand for is acceptable, however they spewed their hate verbally when they were provoked by festival goers spewing their own brand of hate in their direction. I’m also not saying that the way they dealt with the protesters was wrong, everyone handles things differently but in my opinion, by those who are gay or gay supporters spewing hateful words and even throwing things and threatening physical harm they are doing nothing to help their community. If we are disapproving of the way they convey their hate for the gay community, and their views on keeping marriage between only a man and a woman, and if we are promoting Pride as a festival of love and freedom then we are doing nothing but sinking to their level of hatred while using their tactics and in my opinion that is very wrong.
Of course not everyone handled the confrontation the same way there were plenty of Pride patrons peacefully standing close to the protestors with their own signs. I saw quite a few people attempting a calm debates which I think is pretty much useless but more power to them for expressing their displeasure with the actions of those who wish to treat them like second class citizens. I remember looking around at the few young white male protestors and catching eyes with one who couldn’t have been over the age of 18. His father was clearly standing across from him and the boy had such a look of genuine fear in his eyes, his life was being threatened by hundreds of people as he stood there and I just felt for him. Maybe he didn’t want to be there but was forced to, maybe he was gay himself, and maybe he was exactly who he claimed to be but either way it was clear that his actions were not being performed by free will and choice.
All in all the day was wonderful and everyone got a renewed sense of how amazing the city we live in is. There are so many people around the country that have not got to experience such a huge celebration of pride and freedom in their own cities. Hopefully one day that will change and 40 years from now we will be looking back on this attack of human rights with a sigh of relief.