I have read several editorial letters in the past few days that responded to the fourth of July parade panel's decision to allow groups such as PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) or SEAGLA (Southeast Alaska Gay and Lesbian Alliance) to participate in the parade.
It is unbelievable to me that they expect the panel to eliminate PFLAGs, SEAGLAs or similar groups' participation. These groups have marched in many of Juneau's Fourth of July parades without a problem. The panel allowed representatives of the community (which they are) as well as organizations that serve the community (which they do) to participate; why stop now?
Mr. Bagoyo mentioned that only firefighters, police officers, and groups of the like should participate, but later mentioned Elvis impersonators and classic cars were "okay." Give me a break. What does Elvis and cars have to do with the Fourth of July? I guess one could argue that they represent a part of America or the community, just as the gay community is a part of America.
And as far as Friday's writer is concerned, he mentioned the parade shouldn't include groups that mention anything about sexual orientation becaue the parade should be about the "kids." I'm afraid you won't be able to shelter your kids forever from people who identify themselves as gay.
Homosexuals are everywhere in the community, as firefighters, teachers, military members and people who deserve not be discriminated against or oppressed. There is a need for these local organizations.
Truly, I understand some may not be comfortable seeing parts of the gay community march down the streets of "their town" representing themselves, nor are some parents comfortable with having to explain who these groups are to their children.
But that doesn't give them less of a right to represent themselves in their own community. They do so respectfully without violence and negativity. A need for more tolerance is much needed in a community that I've always known as laid back.
Whether you agree with homosexuality or not, homosexuals still have rights that still aren't always recognized or supported. I personally have known many in the community who are supportive. That doesn't mean everyone has to be, but it does mean they hold a legitimate place in the community and should continue marching in the parade.
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