The comments made by Grand Fenwick residents in Gay Pride Festival are copies of comments I found in our local newspaper, not exactly word by word, and they referred to different events. Unfortunately, that includes the term “our uppity First Lady,” which, in all consequence, is a racial slur (My apologies!) because the term “uppity” was used in combination with the “N” word. Nevertheless, the term was printed in that local newspaper.
I copied the names of all participants in this story from one of my all-time movie favorites, Philadelphia with Tom Hanks. I also took the liberty of copying parts of Andrew Becket’s background.
All information on gay pride parades and the LGBT community came from Wikipedia.org.
This post is part of “Cemetery Polka” and other dark stories from New England by Wilfried F. Voss
Gay Pride Festival
The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision. – Lynn Lavner
The idea of a Gay Pride Parade marching through the streets of Grand Fenwick, Massachusetts might not sit well with some of its residents, but a less accepting setting may be exactly what the organizers had in mind when they developed the proposal.
Meet Andrew Beckett and his partner Miguel Álvarez. Becket, until recently, was employed as a senior associate at one of the largest corporate law firms in Philadelphia. Beckett currently sues his former employer for unfair dismissal, and that the firing was, in fact, a result of his diagnosis with AIDS. Álvarez calls himself a Stay-At-Home-Husband (SAHH). The couple got married last fall in Barnstable, Massachusetts, where they now live and raise two daughters.
Asked about the aspect of potential resistance among Grand Fenwick residents, Beckett only smiles.
“For us, it didn’t make much sense choosing an easy-going, liberal venue like Boston, Northampton, or Provincetown,” Álvarez explains in his place. “The goal of the proposed festival and parade is to generate maximum media exposure weeks or even months prior to the actual date. You don’t get that in Boston, Northampton, or Provincetown.”
“Yes,” Beckett adds, “I understand the proposal may be provocative, but in the end, it will further the acceptance of the LGBT community.”
Pride parades for the LGBT community (also known as gay pride parades, pride events and pride festivals) are events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) culture. The events at times serve also as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage. Most pride events occur annually, and many take place around June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the modern LGBT rights movement.
However, Beckett and Álvarez are planning for July or August.
“We like it hot,” says Álvarez.
The festival, if approved by the authorities, will start off with a parade through downtown Grand Fenwick. Depending on the number of attendees the parade will start at the Business Center on Bernard Avenue or, in case more space is required, adjacent at the Rockwell-Bradley School. From there, participants will continue on Federal Street, crossing Main Street, and proceed to the Grand Fenwick fairgrounds where the festival will start with speeches and musical performances by local bands and singers.
Beckett and Álvarez hope to organize at least 2,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender residents from all over the Commonwealth. However, they emphasize, this is not a closed event reserved for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender participants. The organizers encourage the general public to join and celebrate with them.
“We are very easy-going,” says Beckett, “and we’d like to have some fun.”
They hope to take on a festive or even Mardi Gras-like character. Large parades often involve floats, dancers, drag queens, and amplified music. But even such celebratory parades usually include political and educational contingents, such as local politicians and marching groups from LGBT institutions of various kinds.
But it seems that not everybody in town is thrilled.
“I don’t care what these guys do in their bedrooms,” argues Grand Fenwick resident Kenneth Killcoyne. “I am more concerned about increased traffic on High Street. Several thousand of people walking toward the fairgrounds will create a serious traffic problem, and the only solution will be diverting automobile traffic to High Street.”
He points to the Fenwick Medical Center, which is located on High Street, and the possible restricted access for emergency vehicles.
“There are also environmental concerns,” Killcoyne continues. “I would like to see some adjustments, provided the town approves the plan. These adjustments include reducing the hours of the festival, limiting the amount of alcoholic beverages that can be sold, limiting the size of the parade, and requiring the organizers to restore the streets to pre-parade conditions.”
His neighbor, Belinda Conine, agrees. “Yes, I do have some questions,” she says. “What will the impact of additional traffic be on our most family-friendly neighborhood? What impact will the parade have on our downtown stores? Will the parade complement growth or will it destroy it? I strongly believe, before any decision, we should initiate a community impact assessment.”
Bob Seidman, also a Grand Fenwick resident, expresses his opinion bluntly. “In my personal opinion, this is just another diversion by local, liberal loudmouths. They spent most of last year calling Republicans a bunch of racists. Turns out, one of these lefties was a recruiter for the KKK. And our uppity First Lady vacationed in Spain at taxpayers’ expenses, while the president played golf during the BP oil disaster. Liberals always defend abortion and gay rights, but when Sarah Palin shoots a caribou they go berserk. We the people, and I mean the real people, do not agree.”
Meanwhile, unimpressed by local opinions, Andrew Beckett and his partner Miguel Álvarez continue with their plans. They are currently contacting the Peter Pan bus lines in Springfield, Massachusetts as well as local transportation providers to organize bus rides from Provincetown and Northampton.