COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)– Each week at NBC4 we publish an article on our website called “Top Spots.” It’s a listicle based on a seasonal event or topic voted on by NBC4 viewers and fans that we believe will serve Central Ohio. For example, during the Memorial Tournament week, we published ‘Top Dublin Restaurants.’ For Memorial Day weekend: ‘Top Community Pools.’
This week because of the upcoming Pride Festival in Columbus, it is our plan to publish ‘Top Spots to Celebrate Pride.’ As we do every week, we posed this question to our viewers, but unlike in weeks past where people answered the question presented, many used it as an opportunity to voice their opposition to Pride and the LGBTQ+ community.
After NBC4 anchor Mark Taylor posted about the negativity generated in the comments on his Facebook page, the comments on the original post started to balance out. Some even answered the question.
Stonewall Columbus executive director AJ Casey says this negativity is one example why Pride month is still needed in 2019.
“There are people who still want to believe that they’re right, and [the LGBTQ+] is wrong. I don’t know that will ever change, but I will tell you that in 1981 there were 200 people marching in the [Columbus Pride] parade and in 2019, there will be well over 12,000 marching in this parade, so I know that times have changed,” Casey said. “People who don’t want to be a part of [Pride], don’t have to. This is the one day of the year… we call it Pride month or Pride season… this is the time of year for people who have been marginalized for so many reasons, get to stand up and be seen and be counted and know that they are among community and friends and allies.”
A recurring theme in the comments of the original post is people asking why there isn’t a designated month for “straight pride.”
“Gay pride came about because for so long, it not only was the hatred that was rampant, there were laws that made it impossible or illegal to wear clothing that wasn’t of your gender,” Casey added.
“2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City in Greenwich Village, and that is considered to be the onset of the modern gay rights movement because people literally opened up and said, ‘I’m not going to be hidden anymore. This is who I am. This is how I live. This is who I love,’” Casey said.
Last week, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill apologized for the actions of the NYPD at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. The apology comes in advance of the 50th anniversary of the raid and the response it provoked from patrons at the popular gay bar. Rather than being arrested willingly like patrons had in many previous raids, the crowd fought back against officers and social expectations of 1969 that kept gay life in the shadows. Commissioner O’Neill’s apology came along with an announcement that the NYPD plans to beef up security for world pride celebrations later this month.
“The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive and for that I apologize,” said O’Neill. “I do know what happened should not have happened. The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple.”
Check NBC4i.com on Wednesday for Top Spots to Celebrate Pride in Central Ohio.