Wednesday, June 07, 2023

It's A Lifestyle!

Whenever I hear that the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my claws come out. Because you know right away that they are right-wingers.

Down in Texas it all started over a Christmas parade two years ago and a local LGBTQ community center had a float… “God forbid a drag queen float!” and it split the town in two! And PBS Newshour had a segment on it.
PBS NewsHour’s Laura Barrón-López explores the tensions over LGBTQ+ inclusion in a changing Texas, where a Christmas parade controversy became a battleground for the fight over rights and acceptance.
Jun 5, 2023

Geoff Bennett:
In Texas, LGBTQ rights are under attack everywhere from the halls of the Capitol to the streets of small towns.

On Friday, Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. Republican lawmakers have also targeted drag performers.

Laura Barron-Lopez is back with her report from one Texas town where a fight over drag has exposed deep divisions.

Laura Barron-Lopez:
Once a month in Taylor, Texas, LGBTQ families and supporters gather to make art, watch movies, and show off their talents. It is a space for members of the Taylor Pride group to connect. But wherever they go, the Taylor Area Ministerial Alliance follows.


Laura Barron-Lopez:
Known here as TAMA, the group of orthodox Christian churches protest these events, in their words, to evangelize. And so they have every month, says Denise Rodgers, who founded Taylor Pride in 2020.

Denise Rodgers, Taylor Pride:
We are just trying to exist. And they show up wherever we are every time. Literally just children doing crafts and art and having fun and existing, and they still show up to protest just their existence and them gathering.

Laura Barron-Lopez:
Now veterans and other groups stand guard outside the events. And the Taylor police are stationed nearby to keep the peace.
Taylor Pride holds weekly drop-in center for LGBTQ+ youth and you can imagine how that sticks in the with the conservatives. Grooming the kids! Just listen to what the minister had to say…
Laura Barron-Lopez:
Jeff Ripple is a pastor at the Christ Fellowship Church and a TAMA member, unapologetic about his anti-LGBTQ beliefs.

Shouldn't those kids have a place to be able to be who they are and to express their identity?

Jeff Ripple:
I'm not saying they should not. When I go to an event, whether it is the Pride event in June or whether it's to the library, I'm not out there because I hate anybody. I'm out there because I actually love them.

And the reason I'm out there, in love, is because I actually believe what the Scripture says, that those lifestyles are opposed to God, they are deemed sinful by God, and those who practice those lifestyles will experience hell one day.

I mean, I believe that.
Yeah right! He loves us, do you believe that? Also “...those lifestyles…” see that is where their animosity towards us comes from, they think that this is a choice! That one day we wake up and think “Gee I think that I’ll be trans so that I can get the shit beat out of me! That sound so much like fun!”

That is what these conservatives think that it is all a matter of choice.

In 2021 that Drag float tore the town apart the minster is on the town council and in 2022 they tried to ban the drag float from the Pride center but when the mayor found out he put a stop to it and then there were two. Two Christmas parades one by the pastor and his followers and one for the rest of the town.

Jeff Ripple:
Drag queens in a Christmas float is not consistent with Christianity as we believe it. And so, last year, in the entry forms, we simply made a notation that said all entries must conform with traditional family and biblical values.

And that created a firestorm.

Laura Barron-Lopez:
Residents like Angelica Salazar agreed with the exclusion of drag performers from the parade.

Angelica Salazar:
I would say keep the drag queens out of it because I equate drag queens with strippers, and keep it age-appropriate. Go ahead, have your float like everybody else has her float, but keep the drag queens out of it.
Drag queens = strippers in their minds.

They see anything LGBTQ+ as a sexual perversion. In their feeble little minds they see us as an abomination.
Laura Barron-Lopez:
So, last year, there were two back-to-back parades, one sponsored by the city that included Taylor Pride's float with drag queens and one sponsored by TAMA that didn't.
Split right down the middle cut right in half by hate.

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