Pro-Gay In Salt Lake City: The Protest

October 8, 2010

Last night, I was fortunate enough to attend the silent protest in Temple Square, located in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. It was in opposition to comments made by a Mormon official during a General Conference about homosexuality, but really to show gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered teens in Utah and beyond that they are not alone, and that there is a large community of support rooting for them.

With the rise in suicides linked to homosexual teens, and a wider problem related to bullying in schools that seems to have become an epidemic, it is more important than ever that we stand up to provide a safe haven of tolerance and love for our youth. The comments made by Boyd K Packer, who is believed to be next in line for the Church presidency, just reaffirmed the same position that the Church has always had: we “love” you, but you are choosing to be a homosexual, and we will not support you.

“Some suppose that they were pre- set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so. Why would our Heavenly Father do that do anyone? Remember He is our Father,” he said in his address.

Last night, thousands gathered in Temple Square to protest these words, and to stand up to say that not only is bigotry not a family value, but it is not a moral one. The casting out of homosexuals in the LDS community has long since been a controversial matter that has led to excommunication, and even broken families.

That message came across last night. There were literally thousands of us, dressed in black, half of us sitting or laying clear around blocks to signify the teens who had committed suicide in the wake of the lack of acceptance for an orientation they never asked for, and cannot – and shouldn’t have to – change. The rest marched in circles around the block, while others held up signs.

A memorable moment came when an old couple walked by on our side of the street. They smiled, bemused but friendly, to the gathered people….until they saw the signs. The look of horrified disgust on their face was extreme, and they attempted to hurry through as the husband pulled his wife close to him, as though one of us would attack. They tried to cross the street while green, so eager to get away that they were nearly hit by a car, forcing them back to wait on the corner.

They refused to look at anyone, looking terrified. Yet, no one spoke to them. No one threatened them. A few people laughed at their obvious discomfort, but only once they had shown such a strong aversion to something that they had been smiling at only a few moments before. Is hatred and misunderstanding so great that they would change their opinion in the blink of an eye, purely on threat that some of those gathered were gay?

To that couple: shame on you. No one said a word to you, and many of us smiled when you walked by. There was not a moment of aggression or violence. There were no shouted slogans, no offensive calls against heterosexuals. The cars honking were in support, and the atmosphere was a positive one. Your baseless bigotry showed that night, and acted as a perfect example of the fear that infects a community, stemming from little more than disapproval without cause.

To those who supported us last night: thank you. Not everyone there was gay; I myself am not a lesbian. But this is more than a personal quest or small movement. This is about providing a community with the ability to come together and live their lives with who they choose. This is about acceptance and love, not hate and fear.

Support our GLBT youth. Support our GLBT community. Support acceptance, whether you are gay, straight, bi, trans or pan. Help us to make this world a world without hate.


One Response to “Pro-Gay In Salt Lake City: The Protest”

  1. SteveMD2 on October 8th, 2010 7:50 pm

    As a strr8 guy, married guy who was so horrified at the Matthew shepard murder and funeral, with the Phelps psychopaths showing up, I also attended the big gay March comes in April rally on the DC mall in 2000. Because I knew Matthews parents would be there.

    And while walking around I stumbled on a couple of guys kissing. And to add to the scene, one of them was black, and I was horrified. Until sanity set back in and I remembered where I was and why I was there.

    It just goes to show you just how deeply religious hatred and ignorance and maniacal lust for money and power poisons society.

    And that moment, and Matthews murder etc. cxhanged my life. I Am now retired, quite wealthy, and am very active poltiically and supportive wise in the gay communities struggle against the Bin Ladens/ slavers of Christianity and the catholic church of the molestation. BTW, I was the single largest donor in my state to the battle to fight PropHate.

    But one other thing comes to mind. I used to think that blacks were bad people. Kind of a fuzzie not hatred per se, but more social class issue.(as a kid my family was what I call struggling to be middle class) Mixed with one incident – when I was trick or treating , maybe at age 12, someone yelled – “the colored kids are coming”. And come they did – one looked at me, saw the bag of candy in my hand, and I still remember tihe ferocity with which he grabbed it. Even though I was not directly hurt or threartened.

    I guess its human nature. The struggle for gays being accepted as our neighbors, friends, colleagues etc is more then just that struggle. It is a struggle for the heart and soul of humanity, and changing human behavior.

    Because in these days, if we don’t accmoplish that struggle – the 1000 year dark ages of zero social and economic progress could look like the enlightenment. When the nut cases really get their hands on WMDs.

    And if I had it to do over again, I would not have had any dhildren. Why subject them to the society we have created, better, but still horrible in so many ways, then the societies of thousands of years ago.

    Or as I put it to someone babbling about religion – I was perfectly comfortable during the dark ages, the black plague, etc etc. And ultiamtely I’ll be perfectly comfortable again.

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