SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT community leaders, activists and business people.
This week I asked the SFGN Speak OUT list to comment on a recent story in SFGN “Local Log Cabin Repubs Praise Trump; Blast Pride” where Vincent Foster, president of the Miami-Dade Log Cabin Republicans, said Pride Month events were “just acts and overt displays of sexual indulgence” with people “tossing condoms and lube out” and men in “assless chaps.” Foster added, “It’s debauchery. It really makes our community look terrible. I don’t think that it’s significant at all that President Trump did not recognize Pride Month. As a gay conservative, I think Pride does more damage to our community than anything positive. It does nothing to promote our rights.”
Below are some of their answers:
The basic rights achieved by LGBTQ people have been hard fought for. While folx like Vincent Foster seem to know less about his own community then he does about what they part take in. The narrow minded analysis leads one to believe that he's maybe never even ventured out into the LGBTQ Community.
— Gabriel Garcia-Vera, Community Activist/ Organizer
Vincent Foster needs to come out of the closet and do a reality check. PrideFest is a time of celebration, a family reunion of sorts, and a festival that raises awareness for our youth, our seniors, and everyone in between. This year after Palm Beach Pride, Compass reigned in over 400 HIV tests, received an influx of about 80 new LGBT youth and 50-60 new LGBT elders that came into the center for services through our programs. Together at Pride festivals here and around the country, we can plug into the energy of the larger community and re-energize ourselves knowing that we are a part of the movement.
— Julie Seaver, COO of Compass
I don't like debauchery either, but if celebrates our feeling of freedom and pride, what the hell – do it. And if anything is called" debauchery" let the Log Cabin Republicans take a look at the debauchery of their president and the people he has chosen to work with…
— Ruth Berman, LGBT activist
Where do you even start with these people? Are they even still a thing? I can honestly say I haven’t heard anything about them in a couple of years — which has been ideal. I hope we can restart that clock again.
— David Jobin, Executive Director of Our Fund
Some call it the Stockholm Syndrome. I call it something else. It doesn’t take a genius to read Vincent Foster’s criticisms of Pride Month as a deliberate dismissal and minimization of what most LGBT people feel about Pride Month, its celebration of our diversity and its ahopeful commemoration of our journey in America. Colorful Pride festivals all around the world lift high their communities in joyful solidarity. However, for whatever reason which I cannot understand, the Log Cabin Republican leadership has been unable to experience Pride the way the rest of us do. Instead, like Vincent Foster, they take a page from the Religious Right to bash, marginalize and denigrate themselves, along with the rest of us. And they do it with a straight face. I do now know who they are...and why they exist.
— Paul Smith, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel & retired Clinical Social Worker
As someone who grew up in New York City and saw countless Greenwich Village parades, it seems that the media loves to highlight the most extreme stereotypes of the gay community. It's unfortunate that is what they focus on and that's what most people end up seeing. I don't agree with the LCR statement because there are SO many other positive representations of the LGBTQ community.
— Tom Hantzarides, Host and producer of "GET OUT! South Florida,” an LGBT radio show
You see what you want to see. My first Pride March was in 1974 in Detroit. We had so few people we had to stay on the sidewalk and wait for the light to change. Pride for me was the opportunity to affirm my identity in the company of others, including the men in dresses or bare-assed in chaps. Initially, I was scared and embarrassed by these few men. With time, I realized it was my internalized heterosexism and homophobia which made me uncomfortable. Most people I know are energized, not sexualized, by their participation in Pride.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist