Sue Kerr has an interesting post over at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents in response to this year’s Pride that I think is a very good read. Sue and I sometimes agree on things and sometimes vehemently disagree on things, but no matter which happens, I always appreciate the fact that Sue puts it out there as she sees it. This time we have things we agree on more than disagree for sure.

I don’t plan to comment on the Pride police incident further than I already have. In my opinion awaiting the OMI investigation and any other investigations is crucially important. My thoughts are here, here, and here. But there are a few points of her post I do want to comment on.

Third, Repent Amarillo is a serious threat.

Sue has done all the work so far researching this far-right preaching hate group, and I encourage everyone to check out her reporting. She shares this comment:

Someone is funding them and for some reason, one of their members relocated to Pittsburgh.

What does it mean for us to have a hate group that comes off a fair amount like the Westboro Baptist Church right in our own neighborhood? This may mean an increasing presence of protesters. How will LGBTQA Pittsburgh respond? How should it respond? We’ve been fortunate here. The religious zealots haven’t been very active against the LGBTQ community. Even with one of the NOM’s big guns Robert Gagnon here, the face to face skirmishes have been few. Is Gagnon connected to Repent Amarillo? Their efforts are very Old Testament preachy, where as he is very Old Testament scholarly. Either way, a greater visible presence of hate mongering  at LGBTQ events could begin.

Sue has written a bit about the issue of who is funding Repent Amarillo. That’s something worth watching I believe.

Pittsburgh Pride and funding

Sue talks about the “corporatization of Pride” which is a topic worth discussing, but I’m not since to do so gets me into talking more about the Pride police incident. I’ll say more after all the investigations are done. But she makes this claim that is worth exploration:

Because that would remind us of how the corporate sponsorships of services and programs is gone, instead directed to our street party.

How does Corporate Pittsburgh help support the myriad LGBTQ organizations that provide services, support, programming, etc for Queer Pittsburgh? Are the corporate entities dropping support for other groups and shifting all of it to the Delta Foundation and Pittsburgh Pride?  I hope not. Someone who is far more of an investigative reporter will have to dig into that subject rather than me.

I think Pride serves the LGBTQ community as well as Pittsburgh at large in many ways, but it would be a step backwards for the Delta Foundation to be funded at the expense of all the other groups. In a healthy situation, there ought to be funding to go all around, but what is really happening? Additionally, of all groups, Delta has the best ability to make their own money from Pride in the Street, the Bar Crawl, and Splash. The need for corporate sponsorship ought to be lower than for many groups. What is happening? We all need to know.

Sue closes with this paragraph which is right on the money: (bold for emphasis is mine)

In conclusion, we must do better as a community. We must not turn a blind eye to threats like Repent Amarillo or misguided notions of launching a police training component that is already in place. We must not allow anyone to exploit Ariel or others who were caught up in situations much bigger than any one person. We as an LGBTQ community (and our allies) must take ownership of our movement and stay the course toward a more just and equal society.

We are faced over and over again with opportunities to ask what does it mean to be an LGBTQ community? As society changes the answer may change, and we need now as much as ever before to be doing the hard work to keep asking and sorting out the answers. Delta Foundation sees itself as “the leading Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) organization in Western Pennsylvania” but that sentiment ignores the many other groups which are essential to the LGBTQ community. We allow the “big street party” Delta Foundation however, to be the face and voice for LGBTQ Pittsburgh if the rest of LGBTQ Pittsburgh remains quiet, disorganized, or off in their own compartmentalized areas. We need a strong Delta Foundation, but we need all of our organizations to be strong and that means a strong LGBTQ community at large engaged and supportive.

Comments are closed.