Commentary by Ed Wallace-Publisher at UtahStandardNews.com-9/19, 2019
Ed’s Note: The following was written in response to the City of St. George allowing banners on city light-posts that promote gay “Pride of Southern Utah”. This was pushed by Mayor Jon Pike whose Facebook page now has over 1,600 comments on his post September 17 at 12:02 AM . Yesterday, because of this controversy, the City Manager has issued a policy that the City will not be accepting ANY more applications for banners. The City Council put this service in place and it is unclear if the city manager has the authority to issue a policy that contradicts the Council. An application for a “Make America Great Again” event for Oct 26, 2019, was submitted yesterday. It is unknown at this time if that application will be approved, or even accepted. It may depend on the timing of the application and the policy change. Another group is also in the process of submitting an application for a “Straight Pride” event. This could all get really interesting really fast. I hear keyboards a-clickin’ all around the courthouse.
My lifelong queer friends have been holding hands since the 1950’s. They’ve never felt that they needed to be loved or accepted by others to feel special, even though they always have been. Their identity never depended upon their sexual preference or others embracing the same. They never felt inferior or persecuted and no one tried to make them feel so. They went about living their life and had no problem with others doing the same. They were, and still are, part of the community. The one big major difference, besides sexual attraction, has been their complete and utter disdain for marriage. They’ve distanced themselves from the modern day “Gay Movement” and shake their heads and roll their eyes. 40 years ago, they looked at “gay” as being passe.
50 years after the Stonewall riots, instead of celebrating that they are living in a time of true equality, gays (I’ll use the modern term) are living in fear of a President who celebrates diversity and “Pride month”. Activists persist in prolonging a culture war that no longer exists. We live in a time that is driven by identity and tribal differences such as race, religion, gender, politics, etc. I can’t think of another issue that has as much consensus as basic fairness to gay people. Gay historian Marc Stein said, “Perhaps in no movement was the denial of prior political traditions so complete.” America has become a post-gay country. This doesn’t mean the end of homophobia. There are around 330 million people in America. Do LGBTQQIAAPXYZ folks require all of them to reject 2,000 years of societal mores in order to pursue their own happiness? Will their feelings still be hurt even if a very, very small minority persist in not embracing the lifestyle?
Today, gays do not face anything like the state-sanctioned terror African Americans did during the 1950s and ’60s when the major Civil Rights Acts were passed. Legally, the movement has achieved nearly everything it needs to prosper as equal citizens. Instead of fighting petty and pointless wars over wedding cakes, gays could be basking in the glow of victory. I guess it’s unreasonable to expect that for those who have had their idenities shaped by politics and discrimination, victimhood is too essential a trait to be discarded so easily.
Our debate is small compared to the striking comparison to countries where it is truly dangerous to be gay, where homosexuality itself, or the advocacy of equal rights is criminalized and punishable by death. The resources and money spent on suing florists and bakers would be better spent in those genuine threats for human liberty.
Gay people will probably have a sense of being an outsider as long as they are in the minority but it is something that they can reconcile and overcome. At this point, it really is a choice. The only people I know that are making a big deal about being gay are the gay people themselves. If they want to be normal and natural, nothing is stopping them from feeling that. When was the last time a gay person in St. George was persecuted? I wouldn’t know how to persecute one if I wanted to..
According to conservative gay rights activist, Brandon Straka, Pride, with its messages of love, acceptance and self-expression, is a sham, and has nothing to do with persecution. Seeing his city blanketed in rainbow flags and slogans of love and acceptance only strikes him as “hypocritical … It’s pretty hollow. Right now, the focus of this community is the hatred of this President and anyone who supports him. The so-called love they espouse is not compatible with their relentless hatred in the name of resistance.”
James Kirchick, Visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, said in The Atlantic: “A culture that once preached individuality and personal freedom has become conformist and hectoring, its self-appointed queer commissars constantly policing the language and bringing pressure to bear on those who run afoul of their ever-evolving standards”.
Personally, I don’t care if someone legally organizes a parade around being homosexual, as long as I’m not forced to attend it, promote it, or fund it with tax dollars. But, it you’re going to have a parade to display pride in something, then it should be a real achievement like winning a Super Bowl or war or something. Or, it could at least be a real celebration like St. Patrick’s Day Parade being a celebration of Irish heritage, or a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Mardi Gras started as a religious holiday and has evolved into a reason to get drunk and earn beads by lifting up your shirt.
A person’s sexual orientation is not an achievement or a holiday. Nothing has been accomplished by simply being attracted to one sex or another. It’s been argued the the real purpose behind gay pride is to protest and resist the persecution of homosexuals. In that case, why isn’t it called a protest or demonstration and held in places like Riyard or Tehran instead of LA and San Francisco? What sense does it make to hold a pride parade in the places where gays are not persecuted. The whole thing seems a little silly.
Why is St. George city property being used to promote the sexual preference of anyone at the exclusion of everyone that is not “gay”? Are there no common sense guidelines for the use of city light posts? Can anyone/group apply? Will we see Neo-Nazi, Antifa, KKK, or the Temple of Witchcraft events lining our streets? What about a business? Let’s say a strip club wants to promote “Candy Bubbles” for a one-night stand. Will a pornographic flag be hanging off a pole? How about a group that promotes comprehensive sex Ed, specifically abstinence as the way Utah defines it: meaning any sexual behavior that doesn’t result in pregnancy? Will the city treat these entities equally as all the others who request this service? Should city property be used for political or social purposes? Do our elected officials assume that we all care how everyone has sex? I never wanted to wave a flag to describe to everyone how I have sex! Why do some people feel like they need to announce that on the city streets? And, why does our city feels that it’s important enough to enable an in-your-face marketing campaign that promotes a particular life-style and event that includes a glammed up “Drag Parade”. This isn’t about being “gay” or love and acceptance. It’s about a divisive and very manipulative “you either embrace us or you are a hater” kind of mentality and we love and accept you as long as you have the same opinion. People and businesses that have expressed opposition are already being attacked.
“Gay pride” is a form of identity politics. It’s a liberal buzz-word, an oxymoron actually. There have been numerous “Gay Pride” parades in major cities around the world. Sodomite groups and the ACLU have brought legal cases against communities who refused to issue parade permits for gay pride parades because they violated obscenity laws and parents did not want their children exposed to homosexuality. In the spirit of “political correctness”, these parades have persisted, despite numerous reports of nudity, lewdness, public drunkenness and assault on innocent passersby.
Some people of the predominant faith misunderstand what compassion and charity look like. Those qualities come from the heart. Not from government. Reason dictates that city property, that is shared and seen by all, be used to cover city-wide events that are inclusive of all, such as the Senior Games, July 4th Celebration,The Marathon, Rodeo and Dixie Roundup, Farmer’s Market, etc. Hopefully the city council will make changes to the statutes.
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