This last month, Pride Events were celebrated across the country. Over time, these events have morphed from protests and acts of visibility to celebrations of different parts of our community and culture.
The commercialization of Pride has eased us into a sense of security and safety that unfortunately isn't always the case. Every year our celebrations are marred with acts of violence, even in the most "friendly" of cities.
Unfortunately, this year was no exception. In fact, it seems the violence has been worse.
Here are just a few events that occurred during the weekend's Pride celebrations:
Kansas Woman Attacked at Omaha Pride
Kendra Konrady was placed in a headlock by 66-year-old Omaha resident William Crill, who was boycotting Omaha Pride with a sign that said:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Konrady tossed some stickers from the parade route towards the protester's rainbow colored wagon, mistaking him for a Pride participant. She was then assaulted by the man, who was later arrested.
Fort Worth Bar Raid
Fort Worth police raided a new gay bar in a move reminiscent of the Stonewall Raid that sparked the modern gay rights movement in 1969, leaving one patron in intensive care with a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage.
The raid has sparked protests from the community and calls for inquiry from local leaders.
Bashing at New York Pride
The Village Voice reported that a gay man visiting from Boston was robbed and pistol-whipped during Gay Pride weekend by a group of people calling him a "faggot."
Man Harassed after Leaving Minneapolis Pride
A man and his friend leaving the Minneapolis Pride parade were harassed and had rocks thrown at them by a group of young people. The video shows a large group screaming "I hate gay people" and "Gay is not the way" at the man who tries to keep walking while his friend tapes it.
San Francisco Landmark Torched
San Francisco's large Pink Triangle, honoring the LGBT people killed in the holocaust on the city's Twin Peaks, was burned in what police are calling a case of arson. The fire was set hours before the city's annual Pride Parade was set to begin.
Going to Pride is Still a Political Statement
I think we have become so used to seeing the crazy Westboro-type protesters at our Pride Events that we forget the level of animosity still out there towards LGBT people. I know I have tons of pictures from Pride with me posing in front of nutty protester signs or have seen friends kiss in front of fundies yelping about "Sodom and Gomorra."
This type of in-your-face celebration has become part of our culture. I think it shows how we have moved past some of the fear and internal shame that defined our community in the past. It is an important statement.
We can never forget, however, that sometimes increased visibility and rights can cause a backlash or set off hate-filled people on the edge of sanity. As we gain ground, the crazed right will become more desperate and more violent. Going to Pride, being out everyday, and living openly all still carries risk, from the most urban centers and gayborhoods to the most rural areas.
We've come a long way, but still have so much further to go...