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Matthew Burkholder, Published June 26 2009

Pride critic needs a history lesson

Clara Tellinghuisen (letter, June 20) might want to know a bit about the history she so casually dismisses.

Gay Pride week takes place in various cities across America in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in New York City. These sprang from a widespread attack on places where gays were forced to meet in secrecy. Police raids on private clubs were commonplace, in fact gays and lesbians were subject to severe discrimination.

On June 28, 1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, and for the first time in American history, the gay community said no and fought back. Rather than live in the shadows, living lives that were shrouded in lies, we came out.

One year later, in 1970, the first Gay Pride Parade was held to recognize those who were arrested for simply being themselves.

Gay Pride week has also been integral in increasing awareness about the AIDS epidemic and has likely saved thousands from suicide as they face uninformed anger and hate. Gay Pride shows them they are not alone in the world.

If Tellinghuisen wants to talk about pollution, I suggest the real pollution in any community is hate and discrimination.

She is absolutely right about one thing: Ideas do have consequences.