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Schaumburg: Showing Pride

Starkville+held+its+first+pride+parade+Saturday%2C+after+much+controversy.
Starkville held its first pride parade Saturday, after much controversy.

Starkville held its first pride parade Saturday, after much controversy.

Sage Schaumburg

Sage Schaumburg

Starkville held its first pride parade Saturday, after much controversy.

Sage Schaumburg, Entertainment Editor

If you didn’t hear the news, Starkville had its first ever pride parade this past weekend. Leading up to this big event, a pride welcome party was held Friday night from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Rainbow flags and other assorted table tops were sprinkled around the room as LGBTQ+ individuals and allies mingled. Live bands provided music, from a variety of artists that even included one known as “Celery Teeth,” which featured two MSMS alums.

The following morning, a Queer Art Market was held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Fire Station Park, the same location as the start of the following pride parade. Everyone I talked to was wondering whether it was going to be gay art or just gay artists. When I posed the same question to a friend, he quickly replied “Both, I hope!” At the market there was a variety of art (and yes some was LGBTQ+ themed!), pottery, pride bracelets and more from many local artists.

MSMS Junior Cameron Lee
The author of this opinion article may be biased… LOVE IS LOVE

The pride parade lasted about an hour, with some post parade mingling. The windy weather proved to be somewhat of a challenge as rainbow balloons were sent flying into the air causing someone to yell “Spread the gay!” in amusement. Later that night was the Ohara’s Pride Show at 8 p.m. which was hosted by Scott Nevins and featured many drag stars. But before I discuss the beautiful, rainbow details any further, I must mention the problem of hate.

The idea of this particular display of pride was initially rejected by Starkville’s Board of Alderman in February. However, after the group Starkville Pride fought back and made national news, Mayor Lynn Sprull broke the tie and approved the parade.

Of course, despite the overwhelming support that the LGBTQ+ community gained for their parade, there were still individuals that decided to protest at the various events.

The protesters started at the Pride Welcome Party first, taking up a small circle outside the event. MSMS Senior Alex Whitwam approached one of the men who wore a sign saying “Go and sin no more.” This hate-filled man compared the idea of having a gay pride parade to having a parade for wife-beaters, child molesters, and drug dealers. He even went as far to say that the parade was the LGBTQ+ community giving Jesus “the [middle] finger.” As Whitwam walked away for the group of protestors, the man he was speaking with began yelling after him to “Be tolerant!” and told Whitwam that he was “so unloving” but that he “has a conscience!”

I find it quite amusing and equally sad that the man spreading messages of hate towards the LGBTQ+ community was preaching to someone else to be tolerant. The Second Commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” has lost all meaning to these homophobic “Christians.” It is organizations such as the Westboro Baptist Church that should be ashamed of themselves for actively spreading hate against individuals who just want to love. Even my grandmother had something to say, when she commented that “People who hate are going to hell! Jesus said love one another,” proving that not all Christians share the same opinions as these angry, sign-waving individuals.

Some protestors camp on the street corner across from the Fire Station Park.

I encountered the protesters myself at the parade. Their large signs with alleged anti-homosexual Bible verses and phrases such as “Sodomy is Sin” were frequently covered by rainbow flags and balloons. They yelled out that we were all perverted, but a kindly old woman continuously blew her whistle next to them to drown out their hate. There was even a mom walking ahead of a group of protesters with a sign reading “Hangry” in rainbow lettering and an arrow pointed towards the group.

You had couples kissing in front of the protesters, rainbow-covered individuals approaching them to have one-on-one conversations, and chants of “LOVE IS LOVE” filling the air. The hatred emanating from the sidelines had no effect on the children waving their flags and the dogs in their rainbow bandanas. We were an unstoppable force of “gay” energy, both definitions of the term.

Just a selfie of some MSMS individuals.

I couldn’t keep the smile off my face walking through the crowd of color. Seeing same-sex couples, young and old, proudly showing their love filled my heart with so much joy. Pride is not the sinful event that some were describing it as. LGBTQ+ individuals are not hurting anyone by proudly displaying their love. Because that’s all we want, to not have to hide in the shadows or our closets. We just want the same rights and treatment that any heterosexual couple holds.

Pride is a beautiful thing that should never be stopped, whether it is two people of the same gender simply holding hands or an enormously colorful parade with thousands of participants. We won’t stop showing our colors because love is love, and love is beautiful.

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About the Contributor
Sage Schaumburg, Entertainment Editor
Hey guys! My name is Sage Schaumburg, and I’m a current Senior at MSMS. My official unofficial job is Poll Creator (because I love polls), but my official title is Entertainment Editor. If you find me at a time that I’m not having a stress-induced breakdown, I would love to have a nice conversation about...
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