Saturday, June 18, 2005

Glaad & Proud - Pride 2005

As I walked through the Festival Pavillion's parking lot in San Francisco, I was stunned but not surprised to see activists from the infamous Fred Phelps-sponsored website:

Seven or so odd characters held rainbow colored poster boards designed to communicate to the attendees of the 16th Annual Glaad Media Awards just how deep their commitment ran and how much they were "filled with christ's love."

"God Hates Fags," and "Thank God for 9/11" were some of the choice messages.

Giving thanks to God for 9/11 was especially confusing, being that it is pretty presumptious to speak on behalf of God and a very messy business misquote God. God hates the sin of homosexuality according to the "good book," not the individuals that practice it. God also doesn't claim the hate agenda nor can it be located in any bible or biblical resource. Why would God decide there is any validity to hate a chosen, well-planned project such as the creation of human existence? We have already figured out that God did not intend for African Americans to live in abject poverty, segregated from education and free will as this country willingly permitted without shame or discourse. Replacing African Americans with the LGBTQI community is just as proposterous and we know it's wrong. I firmly believe God really dislikes the decision to freely and knowledgeably judge, harass and commit acts of unspeakable violence against other human beings because knowing that an act is a sin and committing that sin voluntarily is the antithesis of God who represents one thing: Truth.

Only human beings are capable of that kind of hypocrisy, not the spirit that invented life. Also, every human being that lost their lives to the tragedy of 9/11 represented various groups of people, including those who claim to be children of God.

I realized that these so-called "Soldiers of Christ" will use any form of ignorance to get their message across, no matter how misguided or incorrect it may be. These anti-gay protesters really believe they are making a difference.
There were more people inside celebrating the Glaad (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation - Media Awards than those representing bigotry outside. Many San Franciscans drove through the Marina District honking their horns in annoyance at the group's unwelcome prescence. Members of the SFPD were scattered throughout the area to maintain the peace and one officer even calmed a young woman down when she grew angry over the 9/11 jab. He politely reminded her that they were trying to get a rise out of her and that she was too intelligent to let them succeed. I totally agreed.

Jennifer Beals and Rita Moreno were among the celebrities honored that evening as well as a host of journalists, television stars, writers and filmmakers. It was the best way to cap off a long day of celebrating my pride - pride in my city, my fellow civil rights activists and pride for all of my LGBTQI sisters and brothers.

Earlier that morning, I attended the first Sacramento Pride Parade ( in 22 years. My friends from the NorCal Aids Challenge would be visible in the parade as well as various members of organizations, bars & nightclubs, restaurants and politicians such as Mayor Heather Fargo and Assemblymember & San Franciscan Mark Leno. I took dozens of photos cheering and laughing as I rode my bike to follow the parade. It was so amazing to see to see so many members from the area come out and support their gay neighbors!

I interviewed and photographed members of the Sisters of Scota
(, a 26 year-old women's motorcycle club and non-profit corporation based in the Sacramento area. These women are true heroines and leaders who walk the walk by volunteering their time and motor vehicles to national pride celebrations, cycling events, (such as the NorCal Aids Challenge), a slew of national charities and breast cancer fundraisers. Finding a cure for breast cancer is the most important issue to the Sisters since many members have lost a loved one or have come pretty close to it. The Sisters of Scota lead the parade alongside the Valley Knights, their male equivalent. They rode as one to signify the solidarity that needs to occur in order for all forms of prejudice to end and for healing to begin.

When I returned to Sacramento I uploaded the photos from the Glaad Awards and Sacramento Pride and began writing my article for Curve Magazine. I made my deadline and Emailed photos along with my submission. I really hope my piece makes it into the September/October issue - that would be an awesome birthday gift since my birthday falls in mid-September!


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