Why do we need PRIDE? Why do we still need to show our presence in the community 50 years after Stonewall?
Hatred and bigotry still exist.
There are people who still believe that being bisexual or homosexual is a sin.
There are children who don’t understand that having 2 mommies or 2 daddies is perfectly normal and healthy.
There are places where it is still unsafe to be queer.
I am proud and consider myself quite fortunate to live in Saratoga Springs, NY. I walk on Broadway in June and see Saratoga Pride Flags, and feel an immense sense of comfort and pride, and I feel welcome. I see signs in shop windows that say “All Are Welcome Here” and I am happy to know that I am included.
Then I receive a message like the one below (sent to the Saratoga Pride website), and I have to step back and remember that there remain a few in our community who wish I was not here. A few who wish, in fact, that I did not exist at all. I reprint this note in its entirety, but have intentionally removed the name of its author, not so much to protect her, but because I feel sorry for the her. To live with such hatred must be a heavy burden.
Message: I am highly offended that you have placed 'pride' flags at almost every light post in Saratoga!! Your militant lgbt agenda is completely out of touch with the vast majority of the residents of Saratoga Springs. You represent maybe 2% of the whole population but you insist on pushing your agenda at every corner of downtown Saratoga! The lgbt lifestyle is not something to push on others or to be proud of. In 21 large metro areas, 1 in 5 homosexual and bi-sexual men have HIV!! Telling young people to come out and embrace the homosexual lifestyle is like telling them to play Russian roulette!! It seems especially intentional that you display your lamp post flag directly in front of Spa Catholic High school!! Are you trying to recruit as many into your ranks as possible or do you just want to be as 'in your face' as you possibly can to a Catholic School. As a mother of school aged children, we will NOT be marching in the flag day parade this weekend no thanks to your obnoxious organization!! i am also complaining to the city and encouraging as many people as possible to do the same!!! I will boycott any shopping on Main Street and encourage as many others as possible to to the same. Stop destroying our culture by pushing unhealthy and potentially deadly sexual acts and behavior on everyone.
Today is the Saratoga Springs annual Flag Day parade sponsored by the Elks. I am proud that we will have a contingent from Saratoga Pride in the parade, as we have for the past couple years. While marching down Broadway holding rainbow flags, we receive cheers and thanks, and once again I feel welcomed and safe in my home town.
This why we still need to show PRIDE and march in parades, and why I hope you will join us today, whether you are gay, bi, queer, trans, or an ally, family member or friend of any sort, because “ALL ARE WELCOME HERE” – and I am proud of that.
- Steve Rosenblum