Fayetteville held its eighth Pride today. I’d say about 150 or 200 people of every color and age group came out to march or cheer, showing their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and celebrating human diversity.
Pride marches are usually held in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City. Police raids on bars popular with gay and transgender people were common in the 1950s and 1960s. Men dressed in non-gender-conforming ways, gay youth cast out by their families and others were arrested for being there.
During one such raid in June 1969, Stonewall bar patrons refused to submit to this typical humiliation. A solitary woman began fighting officers after being whacked in the head with a baton and, the story goes, she turned to the crowd that was growing and screamed, “Why don’t you guys do something?”
They did. Riots continued for several days. A year later, the first pride marches were held in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York itself. They continue today. LGBT advocates say their work is unfinished, though plenty of people obviously disagree with the work itself. Some, including here in the South, might say those police raids in the ’60s were the right idea. Others generally disagree with homosexuality and non-typical gender identities.
I saw only one protester today. “America is doomed,” read his sign on one side in duct-tape letters, while the other used a slur with a history of use during attacks against gay people: “God hates anti-Christ fags.”
But the people in the parade reacted to this man as you might expect.
Thanks for looking,