Today I agreed to take my son to the Pride Festival at Wingfield Park in downtown Reno. I had some trepidations about it but I did not want him to go alone. When ever I talk to people about going to events like this they seem to wonder why I am nervous. They act like it is no big deal. It doesn't matter if I am talking to Christians or not. However, I still have concerns. Maybe rightfully so.
As we arrived parking wasn't that bad and a nice bonus, it was free. As we got closer to the event we saw quite a few people wearing rainbow attire and or flags and such. We saw the first entrance was blocked by a gate with a sign that read exit. There was a person there opening the gate and letting people out.
When we got to the entrance they were collecting a $5 suggested donation. It just did not seem like a suggestion when you got to the front of the line. I told them I was not expecting to pay and only had $3, one young man said he could swipe my credit card. I declined the offer. Then they said the $3 was close enough. I thought that was weird because through all the advertising I read, even on the website it did not mention this "suggested" donation.
I let my son lead the way and we approached the area we saw a sign. Adult side to the left and Family side to the right. Of course he wanted to go to the left but because of what was implied I said we may have to leave sooner if we did that. So we went to the right.
The first space we came to was a spot for "free speech." It was empty. My son said, "So in America if I wanted to speak my mind I could only do it there?" I replied that if you disagreed with this festival you were free to do it right there.
The next booth was religious booth that had rainbow stickers with the words "God loves you" on them. This booth and the free speech spot were both located out side of the circle of booths that we were about to walk into. I found that interesting. As we walked past the booth some one hollered my name. It was from the religious booth. A man from my work was in the both. I stepped over and introduced my son and he introduced the other people in the booth. I asked how he was doing and he responded that he was doing well. Then the conversation just dropped. He did not explain what his booth was or what they were doing there. It was a little awkward. So I said I would see him later and to have a good day.
Then I noticed some other booths that were there. The TMCC Compass group was there. That group is a LGBT group from the college. There was also TMCC and UNR. There was another college there but the name escapes me now. Washoe Legal Service, Wells Fargo, JCPenny's, Martini radio and 106.3 were there as well. There were a couple of other churches there but they were in the inner circle if you will and not with the first one we came across. They just let us walk by and did not engage with us. There were maybe a dozen booths there in total. No one engaging us as we walked by.
I met up with the Smith's from work. They were looking at the Greyhound dogs that were there. They were dressed in matching rainbow shirts and had been apart of the parade that had started the event. They were having so much fun. We exchanged hello's and they explained that they were very interested in getting dog but not for another year. Their young girls were still afraid of dogs. Little did they know that having a dog would be like having a third child. Anyway, we said our goodbyes and headed on our way.
There was nothing really left to do and it had only been about 10 minutes to walk around and see the booths. So my son suggested we go to the Adult side. I warned him that I was sure that it was not a good idea for me. He was not an adult and so he should not go over there and I WAS an adult and I know I should not go over there. So he in his great teenage wisdom suggests that he go over there by himself and walk around for just 10 minutes. I said no, like as in N to the O, no. If he wanted to go over there then I was going to go with him. Does that sound like fun? He said sure! What is wrong with that boy?
We start walking into the area and it was behind a wall so you really can't see what is going on until you get over there. You can hear that they are doing a karaoke contest but what I hear as we come around the corner is my son saying,"Mom turn around, don't look!"
I have to pause right here and say that when I raised my kids I tried to protect their eyes and their ears from the things I thought would not be good for them. There is a children's song that goes "Oh be careful little eyes what you see...oh be careful little ears what you hear...The Father up above is looking down in love...oh be careful little eyes what you see." So very often as we were in the mall or I would be driving them down the street I would see something inappropriate I would instruct them to look down until we passed by. So my son has some idea of what would be inappropriate for me and really for him to be seeing.
Back to the festival. So my son has to say this to me a couple more times. "Mom, look over hear for a minute. Stand right here or just keep walking." He did not seem to be enjoying himself. You might say, "Well of course not, his mother is with him!" However, I still think he would have felt uncomfortable there. I will tell you why.
With all the talk of how the LGBT community is just like everyone else. They just want the freedom to be themselves. Society just needs to accept them for who they are. They give the impression that they are like the Family side of this festival with the churches represented and the business and health care providers. Nice and kid friendly.
But really it was the Adult side that showed who they are and what they want to be doing. The Adult side was not kid friendly what so ever. They had adult booths there. They had an individual walking around in a male body part costume. My son even commented, "Who would want to dress up like that and walk around in public?" There were some men there dressed in over the top drag, like the diva type you may see on TV. There were other men there half dressed with their upper bodies painted. There was the all gay men's choir booth and other booths along that line. We walked through this side much quicker than the Family side.
As I briefly looked around it amazed me what they were celebrating because it was not the lasted supreme court battle that was won about same-sex marriage. They were not celebrating monogamy, they were celebrating the flesh and all that it wants to fulfill. They were viewing each other like a peace of meat and how they wanted to prepare it before they feasted on it. Even the talented singer that was scheduled to show up was treated like a slab of meat. Who could get their hands on him first?
As my son and I were standing there getting ready to leave the area I saw a man walking in dressed like a woman. He had a wig on and a dress that looked very matronly. He looked to be in his forties. His hands were clasping a clutch purse right in front of him. He did not look comfortable. He looked scared and fragile. Not in a feminine way but in a way that made me think he was nervous about being here. Afraid to be seen by someone he may know.
On the way out we met up with an old friend from church. He was with a friend. They talked about looking forward to meeting the singer Lance who was arriving shortly for a meet and greet. Our friend could not wait to meet him and could care less about Lance having a husband. We said our goodbyes and then I ran into Cathy who is an author. She wrote a book seemly about building a bridge between the church and the LBGT community. It wasn't quite like that but we greeted each other and then went on our way.
We were done with the event in less than 45 minutes. It seemed to me that my son was disappointed. It wasn't about fun and freedom like he had expected. The event was boring unless you wanted to engage yourself with the atmosphere on the Adult side.
My son saw a few people from school there but he did not speak to them. We did stop at the Hillary for president booth. We just wanted a sticker. She wanted us to sign up for a reminder about voting. So we did. Well, my son did. Still no sticker. Then she wanted him to register to vote. I said no thank you, we just wanted a sticker. She reluctantly gave us each one. My son commented that he wanted to study up on the issue first and then make a choice. He then commented how he wanted to talk to me about the subject Adult 101. What?! He said he meant about voting, and other responsibilities of being an adult. You will have to read another blog to find out what he needed to know for passing the Adult 101 class from this mother/teacher.
I think the LGBT community is pulling the wool over the eyes of society. They are trying to make believe it is all about the "Family side" when in reality it is about the "Adult side." No one cared about what services where being offered on the Family side. The straight families that were there were alone on the Family side. The LGBT community was on the Adult side doing what ever they wanted. Is that why they want to be accepted? To act inappropriate in public? Is that why they want equality because they want to bring out what they do in the dark into the light? Is that supposed to be ok with everyone? I do not think when we stand up for a gay person being bullied that this is what we are agreeing to. I think we are agreeing to peaceful living not public display of lusting after the flesh.
The event showed me that
1. I must love people. That is what God would want me to do. No matter who they are.
2. I must lead by example. My kids are going to go do what they are going to do. I need to be right here in this spot when they return. They will need to know where to find me.
3. Stay on the family side. I never want to qualify as an Adult.