Saturday Portland, Maine hosted it’s annual Pride Parade, which was followed by its annual Pride Festival. Bushels of fun for the whole family. In retrospect, I probably should have recorded some of these. A mistake I won’t repeat when I go to PortConMaine next weekend.
What can I say? From drag queens and all sorts of different colored flags, the park lit up with people of all ages, races, and sexuality. From Asexuals, to Wolves, the Pride Parade did not discriminate who could come. With two stages, one for music and one for amazing performances by differently dressed drag queens Barbara Streisand could join in on the fun.
The shooting in Orlando was not too far from everyone’s minds. It was bright and happy, and yet the air of the event in Florida was looming over everyone. There were a few nice people with T-shirts showing that Portland stands with the people of Orlando in this dark time of mourning.
Suffice to say a lot of the people I talked to were avid supporters of gun control, completely for taking guns away and focusing on a national “peace and love” campaign, as one woman explained. Similar to the hippie movement in the 1960’s. Gun control is the answer, background checks (which already exist) and the banning of assault rifles (which some states have done and hasn’t really made a difference). Others did not believe that there was a reason to carry a weapon and that guns weren’t necessary and the world would be better if there were less guns in the world.
Organizations like Pink Pistols would be welcomed, but would likely face some serious scrutiny and one person said that such organizations should not be encouraging the LGBT community to carry. This person’s believed it would make people feel less safe.
So far it seemed like most people would follow this dichotomy of Gun Control good, gun owners bad. Even going as far as stating that there weren’t enough examples to show the good guy argument used by the right. I thought I had entered liberal land and might never come out.
But hope exists within the LGBT community, plenty of people were open to carrying fire arms as long as the individuals were responsible and open to the necessary parameters of obtaining a gun. Two gentlemen I spoke with, one dressed as a Cowboy and the other an Indian (whom I later saw as part of the Village People set) stated they were actually taking a firearms course, stating “better safe than sorry.”
Another person who asked to be identified only as K believed that guns would make people “much safer” and others were open to making sure that should people decided they wanted a gun, they should continue to be able to do that. Similarly one individual, among a group of friends admitted that banning guns and more regulation would end up doing more harm than good, after all, if a person wants to harm others, they will find a way to do it, whether it be with a knife, or with a bomb.
I spoke to this group for a few minutes, and one of them, who’d been rather quiet, admitted he had now been convinced to take a firearms course. More power to you! There is hope for the LGBT community and, despite the way some phrased it, education is the key. Not necessarily a peace and love campaign, but instead a campaign on gun awareness and safety.
But here’s the question: Would LGBTQIA identifying Conservatives be welcomed in such an environment. One, older gentlemen said, “Once you start excluding specific group of people it turns into a slippery slope.” Other people were shocked at the idea of conservatives among the community, but were open to discourse and were interested in hearing the opposing view, particularly, as it relates to Neo-Conservatives.
Michael, an individual who comes from a pretty conservative family said, “we need more gay conservatives” as a group who has a kind of an “in” with the GOP and conservative organization.
Jino continued onto that saying that gay conservatives could “bridge the gap” admitting that gay people can also be pretty intolerant. Conservatives of all minority statuses have experienced a plethora of reactions for their political philosophy.
One woman, however pushed for such conservatives to “lead with their queerness”, which while being frustrating to conservatives as they tend to focus on logic and not identity politics, or emotions. This tactic could go a long way in convincing more people within the community to abandon notions of socialism and big government. A lot of people were open to exchanging dialogue and this woman supported the philosophy of “I don’t agree with you, but I support you.”
It’s safe to say that the Maine LGBTQIA scene is pretty open minded to sound, rational dialogue, and only very few people seemed baffled or disturbed by the idea of LGBTQIA gun owners or shocked at the notions of conservatives in the community. Perhaps more activism from conservatives and neo-conservatives could go a long way in combating the message of the left.