Why Gay Pride?
by Dorian Beth Wenzel
edited: Saturday, December 14, 2002
Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2002
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A look into the life of a lesbian in religious right territory of Colorado Springs, CO, home of that nasty anti-gay Amendment 2, and how she dealt with a homophobic situation with a bias neighbor.
"Why Gay Pride?”
c1997 by Dorian Beth Wenzel
I once had a dispute with a neighbor in our peaceful eight-plex apartment building. She was an old-fashioned, middle-aged, country girl, twice divorced and a mother of three children, one a pre-teen boy. She had lived in the apartment next to mine for over three years, I was out to her, and thought everything was cool between us. Or so I had thought.
When my two tiny, rainbow Pride flags that were attached to the porch railing blew away in a terrible windstorm, I replaced them with a rainbow bandana that I had bought on a vacation in San Francisco. That was when my nice neighbor turned into the wicked witch and decided she had to tell me her opinion about “homosexuals.”
She’d left a very disturbing note for me taped to my front door to assault me when I got home from work that night. It said she had found my “lesbian” flag to be offensive and didn’t understand why I had to display it out in public for all to see, along with her personal opinion about queer immorality. And because the new flag was so much bigger (18’’ square) it was easier to see from the street. Even though we lived on a desolate and dead-end road, she was also overly concerned that someone would mistaken it as being hers.
She demanded that I immediately remove the offensive piece of rainbow colored cloth before some stranger saw it.
Because we are in the heart of Amendment 2 country, home of the Colorado for Family Values and Focus on the Family ministries, this was not an uncommon request. Even my HATE IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE bumper sticker has evoked harsh statements from other motorists with language that I can’t include in this piece used towards me when I had a child in my car; the message has become lost on such religiously blinded and hardhearted individuals.
Her request made me feel violated in the personal sanctuary of my home. I specifically chose to censor my life by not listening to the depressing and discriminating local newscasts because of their bias towards gays in this town, and her note pierced my heart like a butcher knife.
So there I was, sitting in my unlit apartment at dusk, crying because I was so shocked and hurt by her little note. I thought about her “polite” but bigoted request. I thought about what if an angry mob of offended citizens came pounding on my front door and I became afraid for my own personal safety. I thought about how I could be evicted from my home or fired from my job just because I am a lesbian and left unprotected by the lack of anti-discrimination laws.
When Colorado for Family Values in 1996 told the Manitou Springs town counsel that they shouldn’t use the word “rainbow” in a public human relations campaign because they found it offensive and promoting of the “homosexual agenda,” the town officials told them in return that they should focus on their own families and not on such a stupid controversy. The Manitou Springs populace refused to be recognized by the same prejudices, the same bigotry, the same intolerance. They stood their ground for the rights of all people, including gays.
I thought about why we need to have gay pride and why we celebrate Gay Pride Month in June or Coming Out Day on October 11th. Just why should we have pride for being queer? Maybe it comes from the anger of being oppressed all our lives. Maybe it comes from the strength to stand up to others and to refuse to accept the lies that they promote about us. Maybe it comes from a desire to just piss off the bigots of this fine society we live among.
Wherever it comes from, it comes from an individual who has survived in a hostile “straight” world, one that finds us a threat to their morals, beliefs and patriarchal lifestyle. Ain’t that just the biggest pile of horse puckies!!!
We are everywhere and we are not going to go away just because others want us to. America has gone to wars and fought for the rights of others in other countries in this very same situation. Remember Bosnia and their ethnic cleansing policies??? It just makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs in front of city hall. It makes me want to march in the Gay Pride parade, cheering and waving my arms like a maniac. It makes me want to kiss my lover and hold her hand in public, and not care if I’m offending anyone, just like they’ve got a right to do and do often enough everywhere I look. It makes me want to fight the system and stand up for human rights, a concept that belongs to all people- even gays.
Are we not human beings with families and jobs and housing just like everyone else? Are we not mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles? We are single, in committed relationships, and even in heterosexual marriages because some are too afraid of loosing their families, friends, or jobs to come out of the closet.
We need to become more visible so that others will be less likely to vote for anti-gay legislature. We need to speak out against oppression and prejudice because when it’s left unchecked, it’ll grow into campaigns of hatred and fear against those who are “different.”
So I decided to write a reply to my neighbor’s inappropriate request to explain my position in this matter, and that I would not be removing my offensive pride bandana from the porch railing. I also stated that all my life people have found me to be offensive for being different. When I was a child, I was told I would never be pretty or feminine enough. When I was a Christian lay-minister, I was told that although I was a celibate giving my love, sweat and tears to the cause, I would never be good enough to be ordained because I looked gay. I decided I couldn’t live by what others think of me.
I would not hide who I love or how I choose to live my life any longer. It broke my heart to leave my calling in the church, but I couldn’t allow what others thought of me to stop me from being who I am inside. And I have never looked back.
I also told my neighbor that she didn’t have the right to oppress my freedom of expression and happiness. I even looked up the word “bigot” in the dictionary and wrote to her that it was defined as “someone who is intolerant of another’s beliefs.” I decided that I couldn’t meet her request because it was based on bigotry and fear.
I hope she found the strength to forgive any anger on my part to see the truth behind my words. People need to understand what unconditional love, grace, and diversity are all about. Tolerance is the concept of accepting another person’s right to have their own beliefs, even if you disagree with them. But too many have a hard time with this concept and try to force others to conform to what they want, and that is control, not love.
Diversity is what makes people interesting and if the Creator wanted robots, I’m sure that’s what we would have been created into. Instead He created children that He could love unconditionally.
Most likely not in my lifetime, but someday, one generation will rise up to the call of love, not hate. And in that day, I will cry tears of joy, not pain.
Stand up and be proud my fellow brothers and sisters!!!
Please help the Pikes Peak Gay & Lesbian Community Center get back onto its feet after the devastating arson fire. We need the support of all of Colorado Springs so that we can have a safe place to learn, grow and live. Thank you. Donations can be sent to: PPGLCC PO Box 607 Colo. Sprg., CO 80901
Web Site: CMP Productions
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|Reviewed by Joe Blaine (Reader)
|I find it humorous that the last two reviewers have also left reviews in favor of Eddie Thompsons article "The argument against gay marriage".
Reviewed by karen vidra the texas tornado 2/20/2004
I have always disagreed with gay marriages; it states that a man loving another man or a woman loving another woman is an abomination of God; that it is a sin. And I see it as such. God made Adam and Eve, NOT Adam and STEVE, as my twin sister, Karla, says!
Good article; thanks for sharing!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :(
I guess hypocrisy isn't reserved for able bodied people eh? Great article by the way. Happy Pride Month! :) -Joe
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|((((HUGS)))) dorian, i am a christian, too (my twin sister, the one who did the above review, and myself are the only two in our family who are), but i don't condemn anyone who is gay or lesbian. i used to, but then i met a few gay or lesbian people, and they were just like anyone else, excepting their sexual preferences were different. that was all that was different about them; and even though i personally don't believe in it, i can't hate people who are gay or lesbian because of the friends i have who are. i used to hate people who were gay or lesbian, but then i met my friends, and my outlook changed, especially since jesus started working with me about my attitude towards gays or lesbians. i accept a person for how they are inside, not for how they are outside or how they believe. i have faced discrimination, too, not because i am lesbian, but because i am disabled. i know how discrimination feels, and it hurts beyond belief! i have even been threatened three times, and it scared the hell out of me! i was even discriminated against at a job and was fired on account of both my age and my disability. so i know all about discrimination. thanks for writing such a courageous, inspiring piece! i, too, believe all people should have a safe place to go to when they are in need. i will be sending a donation to your community center, but i am poor myself, so it won't be much. but it will be better than nothing. may god bless you richly, and i will be praying for you, that the discrimination ends. you don't deserve it, and neither does anyone else, whether they are gay or straight, black, tan, yellow, red, or white, jew, christian, muslim, or mormon! ALL people have a right to exist; their religion, skin color, sexual choice, or ethnicity DOESN'T MATTER ONE IOTA! they are PEOPLE!! love, and (((((((MANY HUGS)))))))), your friend, karen lynn. >tears <|
|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
|(((HUGS))) dorian...i am a christian, but i also don't condemn someone because of who they are or how they live...i may not agree, but i accept the person for who they are, not what they are. that said, (((HUGS))) because you've faced discrimination...i'm disabled, i'm "overweight" (over WHOSE weight?--HA), i've faced it, too...it doesn't matter what color you are, or who you love, or how you live your life. as long as we treat each other with love and respect and dignity, and agree to disagree :), that's all i care about. this is a very courageous, inspiring piece. all people should have a safe haven...after the holidays are over, i'll be sending in a donation (it won't be much, as i'm on limited income). God bless you, and i pray you have a lovely, peaceful holiday season...(((HUGS))) and love, karla. :(|