June is Pride Month, and we've never hidden our support for equal rights for everybody. Sure, we are a theme park and travel site but we are also members of many different communities that converge, and the LGBTQ communities is one community we've never hidden our support for.
So as we change our profile picture to "Pride Journey" we sadly got some push-back. R.D. is here with one of his amazing articles and has some thoughts on it.
Written by RD Sussman-Dewberry
It is June in America, and that usually signifies wedding season is in full swing, parks are in daily operation, and that rainbow flags begin to appear all over the place. June is typically thought of as the Gay Pride Month, in deference to the Stonewall Riots in New York City that began a major push forward for equality and equal rights for the gay community. While Stonewall and other events of the 60s were the start, we adopted so much as a group to make it a time to celebrate and to remember our past - and to hope for a better future.
I grew up as a kid in the 70s and 80s. For me, coming out was a tough (and very long) process that started in 1990, and still goes forward to this day. I chose to be who I was from a late teen on, and I am thankful that I did find an outlet of people who welcomed me in as one of their own: The coaster community.
If you go to any given theme park event with a coaster group, look around you. There are gay people. And LOTS of them. You cannot attend a major coaster event and not find gay people. Theme parks, roller coasters = gays. It's been that way for decades now. And thankfully, with only a very rare few exceptions, we find that gays are accepted - and are treated as equals. And this is a great thing in so many ways, as we don't have to stop being who we are to ride a coaster. Or to enjoy a flat ride. Or to ride the log flume (No jokes, please...).
Walt Disney World Gay Days
One of the things that has amazed me though is there is, despite this very common population, a handful of people who don't get it. Who are clueless to what is going on around them, and to the people they are interacting with. And they do not realize that there are a LOT of gay people around them.
And you know what? It makes them sound like jackasses.
As I write this, I have seen a beautiful sense of support for Park Journey when we changed our logo to be a rainbow - to support the gay community, and the gay coaster enthusiasts. Many people have supported us. And while I'm one of two gay people on staff, it is beautiful to me to see my fellow PJ team members support us. And to support the gay community who form a part of our world.
I don't ever expect everybody to agree with me, or with anybody. That's just plain rude. And I never want people to assume that they have to agree with gay politics, gay movements, whatever. We're in the United States, we're together as a nation, and we're big and diverse with different opinions. At the same time, I do hope that people will understand this: If you don't like a person's opinion, you are entitled to do so - up to the point where you insult them, their group, their family or their beliefs. That shows disrespect - and a tremendous amount of disrespect - to others. That's not tolerance - it's ignorance.
I want everybody - no matter who they are or how they believe to be able to say their opinions - in a polite, dignified way. I love to see other people's opinions and to think in their shoes. But I ABHORE anybody who refuses to listen to the other side. Respect is a two way street.
To my gay family out there - enjoy this time for us to remember our past and celebrate for our future. To my supportive family, thank you for being there for me. And to everybody else - have a beautiful and wonderful June.