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Pride helps overcome prejudice.

Pride serves many purposes, including overcoming the stigmatization and isolation which results from laws throughout our past and present which were intended to punish, dehumanize, and suppress gay people.  Many of those laws have been removed, yet others continue to be proposed, here and around the world. While many more individuals and religious organizations are speaking out for equal rights, and many steps forward have been taken, there have been many setbacks along the way, with majorities preemptively prohibiting progress using the popular vote, and most painful of all, taking away rights once they had been achieved. The common thread however was the way in which fundamentalist religious beliefs have been used to punish and harm people around the world and here at home as well. While religion holds such promise for teaching people to treat each other with the love and respect we wish for ourselves, it is all too often used to inflict pain and suffering in an attempt to control others. It has been that way since the beginning of civilization, but there has also always been the drive for love, acceptance, and equality. So Pride reminds there is still reason to hope, but much work left to be done.
Dan Johnson June 24, 2013 at 11:04 AM
"Atascadero State Hospital was a chamber of horrors for homosexuals. The tag "Homosexual Dachau" was well-earned for its forced lobotomies, castrations and brutal treatments practiced at that facility. The 1950's were an especially dark time for homosexuals. Because of the witch hunts by Senator Joseph McCarthy, Americans started passing horrible and oppressive laws against homosexuality. Same-sex behavior was linked to treason and Communism in that period. Ironically, Senator McCarthy had many homosexual aides at the time led by lawyer Roy Cohen. As the witch hunt spread across America, homosexuals with no politics were sent to the worst institutions imaginable. Even up until 1971, simply being homosexual could result in a life sentence. Twenty states had laws stating that the mere fact you were homosexual was reason for imprisonment. In California (of all places) and Pennsylvania, we could be put away for life in a mental hospital. In seven states castration was permitted as a way to stop homosexual 'deviants.' Once admitted, normal men and women were rendered mentally disabled through the torture of castration, lobotomies, forced chemical treatments and experimental treatments. The horrors experienced by hundreds are almost too hard to comprehend in America. The most notorious was a Dr. Walter J. Freeman who perfected the ice pick lobotomy. He jammed an ice pick through a homosexual's eyes into the brain and performed a primitive lobotomy. He believed deeply this was the only way to cure homosexuality." Even the use of imprisonment and torture failed to change sexual orientation, providing more evidence sexual orientation is not a choice.
Dan Johnson June 24, 2013 at 11:15 AM
"Late in the [19th] century, as large cities allowed for greater anonymity, as wage labor apart from family became common, and as more women were drawn out of the home, evidence of a new pattern of homosexual expression surfaced. At first, these individuals developed ways of meeting one another and institutions to foster a sense of identity. . . . By 1915, one participant in this new gay world was referring to it as “a community distinctly organized.” For the most part hidden from view because of social hostility, an urban gay subculture had come into existence by the 1920s and 1930s. Many cities saw their first gay bars during the 1940s This new visibility provoked latent cultural prejudices....Firings from government jobs and purges from the military intensified in the 1950s. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued an executive order in 1953 barring gay men and lesbians from all federal jobs. Many state and local governments and private corporations followed suit. The FBI began a surveillance program against homosexuals. The lead taken by the federal government encouraged local police forces to harass gay citizens. Vice officers regularly raided gay bars, sometimes arresting dozens of men and women on a single night. …Under these conditions, some gays began to organize politically. In November 1950 in Los Angeles, a small group of men met to form what would become the Mattachine Society. Mostly male in membership, it was joined in 1955 by a lesbian organization in San Francisco, the Daughters of Bilitis, founded by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. In the 1950s these organizations remained small, but they established chapters in several cities and published magazines that were a beacon of hope to the readers. In the 1960s, the “homophile movement,” as the participants dubbed it, became more visible. Activists, such as Franklin Kameny and Barbara Gittings, picketed government agencies in Washington to protest discriminatory employment policies. In San Francisco, Martin, Lyon, and others targeted police harassment." Milestones in the Gay Rights Movement — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0194028.html#ixzz1V2yeEoRU
Dan Johnson June 24, 2013 at 11:19 AM
"Research has shown that feeling positively about one’s sexual orientation and integrating it into one’s life fosters greater well-being and mental health. This integration often involves disclosing one’s identity to others; it may also entail participating in the gay community. Being able to discuss one’s sexual orientation with others also increases the availability of social support, which is crucial to mental health and psychological well-being. Like heterosexuals, lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people benefit from being able to share their lives with and receive support from family, friends, and acquaintances. Thus, it is not surprising that lesbians and gay men who feel they must conceal their sexual orientation report more frequent mental health concerns than do lesbians and gay men who are more open; they may even have more physical health problems. Where problems occur, they are closely associated with experiences of bias and discrimination in their environments." (APA)
Harold Edwards June 24, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Love is stronger than pride,I live my life by the Teachings from the Bible.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 24, 2013 at 02:53 PM
That's great, Harold. I guess the best Biblical definition of love would be 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I can agree and relate to what it says.
Dan Johnson June 24, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Matthew 7:12: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Galatians 5:14: The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. James 4-11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
Dan Johnson June 24, 2013 at 03:30 PM
The scriptures can be and have been used to justify genocide, slavery, apartheid, segregation, crusades, inquisitions, witch trials, and many other atrocities. They are currently being used by some to dehumanize and demonize gay people, even though there is no rational, reasonable, or scientific justification to treat gay people differently than you would want to be treated. The only excuse for prejudice and discrimination remains in a few questionable religious texts, which have been misinterpreted and mistranslated over time, and which are contradicted by other verses including the most important one according to Jesus, namely that you love God and love others the same. Accepting alternate interpretations of those few verses that seem to condemn same sex love does not require abandoning your religious beliefs, only expanding them to include the idea that God created all things, including gay people, and he wants you to love them as you love him, not judge, punish, and harm them. But when anti-gay beliefs are used to deny equal treatment under the law, the resulting stigmatization and dehumanization leads to needless suffering and death. You can overcome the false and harmful beliefs you were taught as a child, even though they continue to be taught by some adults including those who claim to speak for God, if you choose to educate yourself with reality, not prejudicial beliefs. But if you choose to condemn gay people, you will continue to bring harm and hate to the world instead of love, as Jesus intended.
Dan Johnson June 24, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Many religious scholars who have devoted their lives to studying the bible, understand it condemns harming others but does not condemn same sex relationships based on mutual love and respect between adults. "God is not a Homophobe: An unbiased look at Homosexuality in the Bible" by Philo Thelos Several books already exist attempting to demonstrate that the Christian Bible does not, in fact, condemn consenting-adult homosexuality. But God is Not a Homophobe has a unique perspective in that the author has a lifetime of experience in pastoring hard-core fundamentalist churches. His former bitter opposition to all forms of homosexuality has given way to a rational, unbiased acceptance that the Bible says hardly anything about homosexuality, and what it does say cannot honestly be used to condemn consenting same-sex unions." "The New Testament and Homosexuality" Robin Scroggs, Prof of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary is a serious theologian and is favorable reviewed by many theologians. He is a happily married heterosexual with no personal bias. He includes cites from Boswell and expands further especially on pederasty and concludes there is nothing biblically wrong with homosexuality. "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" by Daniel Helminiask, PH.D., was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1967 and is incardinated in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. From 1981-1985 was Assoc Prof for Systematic Theology at Oblate School of Theology and earlier completed his Ph.D. in systematic theology at Boston College and Andover Newton Theological School. He concludes the Bible says absolutely nothing about homosexuality being sinful when you examine the actual Hebrew/Greek texts." Baptist Rev Dr. William R. Stayton, Divinity degree from Andover Newtown Theological School and on faculty of LaSalle University's Grad program in Religious studies: - "There is nothing in the Bible regarding homosexual orientation. In fact, the Bible does not concern itself with sexual orientation. It does speak against gang rape, male prostitution for religious purposes, and pederasty. I lead bible study programs on this subject and am convinced that the Bible does not address the issue of a person's sexual orientation."
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 24, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Dan, in your second-to-last comment who are you addressing when you say "You... You... You..."? Do you frequently have arguments with imaginary heterosexual people?
Dan Johnson June 24, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Where not clear, substitute "anyone who would use a few bible verses to justify ignoring the Golden Rule, and using the law to harm gay people." If you doubt such folks exist, I can provide plenty of documentation, but you must know the harmful laws documented so far, as well as the votes for prop 8, etc., were not perpetrated by imaginary people.
Susan June 24, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Steve, are you trying to goad Dan into making some kind of derogatory anti-heterosexual comment? Read his comments or don't, but please don't try to see something that isn't there...not everyone has an "anti" agenda.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 25, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Susan: No, I just enjoy poking at radicals. Society is changing in favor of equality for all persons, some places more quickly than others. Unfortunately, many people do not have the capacity for patience and insist that if they shove their political agenda down society's throat things will change faster. I mean no harm, and we have actually enjoyed even more of Mr. Johnson's informative comments as a result of him reacting to mine.
Susan June 25, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Thanks for explaining, Steve I don't believe Dan to be a radical. He is being informative. Many people question why the "gay pride"? "Why do you have to put it out there so boldly?" He has given detailed answers to these questions so people can have a little better understanding. I think implying that gay people haven't been patient or are ramming their "agenda" through is a complete misunderstanding of the issue. How many more thousands of years should they wait to be treated with the same dignity and respect that others are afforded? Waiting more than two centuries in a country founded on the principles of freedom and equality is more than enough time. I applaud my gay friends, co-workers and family for liberating themselves...no one else was doing it for them and they were certainly not able to live their lives openly without the scorn from those who don't understand, want to force their religious belief on others, or that simply disapprove. Too bad, this is America...a country that is suppose to embrace freedom and equality for everyone!
Susan June 25, 2013 at 08:12 AM
Thanks for explaining, Steve. I don’t believe Dan is a radical—he is being informative. Many people ask “why the gay pride?” “Why put it out there and be so bold?” Dan has given detailed answers to these questions so people can get a better understanding. I resent the implication that gay people should be patient. They have been discriminated against, abused, beaten, and even killed for thousands of years because of how they were born. How many more thousands of years should they be patient? In a country founded on the principles of freedom and equality, how many more centuries should they wait to be treated equally and have the freedom to live their lives without discrimination because of religious beliefs, misunderstandings or disapproval? I applaud my gay friends, family, and co-workers for liberating themselves as ignorance of the issue is still a very real thing in this country.
Joyce June 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM
Brava, Susan, for saying what needs to be said; patience? Really? Should universities still have Jewish quotas and should African Americans still sit in the back of the bus? Apparently, "Unfiltered Steve" thinks they should; after all, the "political agenda" of equal rights for people of all religions and colors was once "shoved down society's throat" too. The fact is, the GLBT community has waited way too long for equal treatment under the law, and has endured way too much mistreatment to wait any longer.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 25, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Joyce and Susan: Mr.Johnson has only revealed the negative history. There is history of cultures, such as Roman, who embraced homosexuality and devised no laws or prejudice against it. There is also the history of Native American culture, which views homosexuals as very special spirits held in high regard. Those are just two positive examples. May I remind you that patience isn't the act of waiting for something to happen but how a person acts while waiting. Before our infant generation become adults there will be tremendous changes in equality. 20 years of patience is nothing compared to 1000 years of regression.
Joyce June 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM
You are forgetting, Steve, that people who are CURRENTLY alive are experiencing discrimination and even persecution, right here in the United States, right now; why should they be denied justice on the chance that generations from now the population of the United States might become more tolerant toward GLBT Americans?
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 25, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Oh, and Joyce, could you please expand on my views regarding race and anti-Semitism? I'm sure the Patch readers would love to hear what I have to say. No, really, we're all ears (and eyes).
Susan June 25, 2013 at 01:30 PM
If I remember correctly, the Romans embraced gay men and even allowed gay marriage...that is, until the chuch got involved. People need to understand that their religious beliefs are perfect for them and that our constitution says (paraphrasing) that you cannot force your religious beliefs on others through legislation. This has gone on far too long and it is the precise mentality that is causing so many to turn away from organized religion and even faith. It is best to live our lives as we see fit (so long as we are not causing harm) and leave others to choose their own path. Another twenty years of patience will only delay the inevitable for twenty more years--there is no longer any legitimate legal reason to continue denying equal rights under the law and allowing discrimination--in fact, there never has been.
Joyce June 25, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Susan wrote: " Another twenty years of patience will only delay the inevitable for twenty more years--there is no longer any legitimate legal reason to continue denying equal rights under the law and allowing discrimination--in fact, there never has been." Exactly; and in the meantime, there will be real suffering for real people, if you don't act now to end this irrational prejudice against GLBT people. As for your views regarding race and Jews, Steve, you have kept those to yourself so I have no idea what they are; however, you missed my point which is that discrimination against GLBT people is no different in principle from discrimination against people because of their race or their religious beliefs.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 25, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Joyce, Of course my views regarding race and anti-Semitism are my own and I have not expressed them here, so please leave them, or any assumptions about them, out of your comments.
Dan Johnson June 25, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Steve. Thanks for reminding everyone that gay people have been accepted and even celebrated at various times and places by various cultures around the world. The fact gay people have always existed across time, place, and culture, and have often been accepted as equal or better, is an important message in support of equality today. Because this is Pride month, I have focused here on the history of gay people in America leading up to our current celebration of Pride. This includes the need for our government to demonstrate it no longer supports using the law to harm us, as it continues to do with DOMA, and other laws that deny full equality. Unfortunately, our own government continues to harm us, though not as severely as in the recent past when we were arrested, imprisoned, and tortured, in addition to being denied civil rights. Many gay Americans alive today remember this rational reason to fear our government, while many of those who have not experienced it, remain unaware.
Dan Johnson June 25, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Steve. While the Romans started out accepting gay people and even their marriages, they became very anti-gay later on. "Various types of same-sex unions have existed, ranging from informal, unsanctioned relationships to highly ritualized unions. A same-sex union was known in Ancient Greece and Rome,[2] ancient Mesopotamia,[3] in some regions of China, such as Fujian province, and at certain times in ancient European history.[4] These same-sex unions continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. A law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) was issued in 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans, which prohibited same-sex marriage in ancient Rome and ordered that those who were so married were to be executed." (wiki)
Susan June 25, 2013 at 05:05 PM
I just want to make a clarification to my above statement: "It is best to live our lives as we see fit (so long as we are not causing harm) and leave others to choose their own path." This should have read: "...choose their own RELIGIOUS path." I don't want anyone to misunderstand my statement; being gay is not a choice, but a person's faith and religion are certainly individual and personal choices. Our constitution guarantees that we have the freedom of religion...you cannot impose your religion or your personal interpretation of the Bible on me.
Dan Johnson June 25, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Steve. Many of us can't wait another 20 years. This is true not only for older gay people, but especially for those who are currently raising children. They need equal protections now, not on the convenient time schedule of those doing the discriminating. Rev. Peter Gomes, Harvard University Chaplain: "If society waited for majority opinion and legislative action, African-Americans, for example, would still be enduring the indignities of separate but equal accommodation and the other manifestations of legal, social, and political segregation. If the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge is "judicial tyranny," let there be more of it... To extend the civil right of marriage to homosexuals will neither solve nor complicate the problems already inherent in marriage, but what it will do is permit a whole class of persons, our fellow citizens under the law heretofore irrationally deprived of a civil right, both to benefit from and participate in a valuable yet vulnerable institution which in our changing society needs all the help it can get." (Boston Globe, 2/8/04) How many more gay Americans have to die never having known the equal treatment of the law promised and required by our system of government?
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 25, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Mr. Johnson, have you ever tried to force-feed a baby? The food usually ends up on the walls. The U.S. govt is nothing more than a big baby, and attempts to force feed equality to the govt will have the same results. Trust me when I tell you that I have personal experience in getting the U.S. govt to accept something. THAT is where I learned my own patience. Society is becoming more and more accepting of equality for LGBT by leaps and bounds every day, compared to the consensus just ten years ago. My condolences that you and others are unable to wait until LGBT demands for equality are met. As far as Peter Gomes, his quote is nothing more than speculation regarding African-Americans. Your final question is rhetorical, it has no answer.
Harold Edwards June 25, 2013 at 06:39 PM
The Roman Empire was the 1st Reich,they fell because of there bad morals.We are living in The 4th Reich which you can read the writing on the wall.We are heading for a major collapse.History always repeats it self.What ever goes up always comes down.When the bow breaks the cradle will fall.We are a Nation of weaklings that is like a snowball heading for Hell !
Dan Johnson June 26, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Harold. As documented above, the Romans changed from acceptance of gay people and their marriages, to outlawing them and persecuting gay people. Using your logic, it was the persecution of gay people and outlawing their marriages that led to the fall of the Roman empire. And often we find countries collapse when the government limits freedom and expression of humanity, not from more freedom and equal rights. Your predictions of doom and gloom rely on pejorative terminology and fear mongering alone, not facts of law and history.
Dan Johnson June 26, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Steve. "Unable" is incorrect. "Unwilling" would be a better word. We must wait for the law to recognize legal equality before we can enjoy equal rights, but there is no need to wait quietly. Dr. King said: "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." He also acknowledged that real change takes time; yet he also warned against the "tranquilizing drug of gradualism" and instructed the oppressed to demand equality now - not on the convenient time schedule of those doing the oppressing. So we must continue to speak out and work for equal rights, not sit quietly and hope straight people eventually will decide to give them to us as some sort of reward for waiting patiently.
Dan Johnson June 26, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Today, we have earned another reason to celebrate Pride. DOMA and prop h8 are now officially unconstitutional. In a country conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal, prejudice and discrimination have no place in the law. Equal rights should never depend on popular opinion. "Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional." (Perry)

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