I had the distinct pleasure of joining a group of over a hundred members of the United Church of Gainesville (home of the “If they can burn it we can read it” campaign in response to the planned Quran burning) who donned blue shirts reading “Gay and Straight Together” to march down University Avenue to the Bo Diddley Community Plaza as part of Pride Parade 2010. It was a spectacular day and the turnout was tremendous.
The video opens with our drum group warming up and then shows our group beginning to get organized behind a vintage car driven by Pastors Larry and Sandy Reimer. A very good time was had by all as we marched. A group of construction workers paused to watch the parade pass, and they can be heard yelling support and encouragement as we passed. Remarkably, even though Gainesville is a small enclave of liberal thought surrounded by some of the most conservative people in the country, I saw no negative responses to the parade. Since we only filled one side of the street, traffic traveling the opposite direction continued to meet us, so many people who hadn’t planned to watch the parade saw it from their vehicles.
After so many LGBT teen suicides brought on by bullying, perhaps the support shown in Gainesville today can join with the growing stream of “It Gets Better” videos (see this one for a tremendous example) and the good news on the reinstatement of Seth Stambaugh to his student teaching position to show those who are struggling that it really does get better.