By Chad Ingram
I wasn’t going to write a “this is why we need Minden Pride” column this year, as I have in others.
I thought, as a community, we were beyond that. I was going to write about the county’s acquisition of the Minden daycare and how that is the best case scenario regarding that situation.
However, late last week, somebody decided to cut the Minden Pride banner off the Loggers’ Crossing bridge. So, here we go.
First, it should be noted, as Minden Pride chairman David Rankin said during the flag-raising ceremony on Monday, “We do not know why this occurred, nor the motive behind it.”
It is possible that whoever cut down the banner just has it out for banners in general. However, while it may be an assumption, logic dictates that it was likely an act of homophobic vandalism. Minden Pride itself was created in response to an act of homophobic vandalism.
In fact, all Pride celebrations were born out of protest, out of retaliation and resistance. The Stonewall riots in New York City, which occurred a half-century ago this summer and were an uprising by the LGBTQ+ community against the New York Police Department for years of oppression and brutality, essentially gave way to the gay rights movement in North America. Until that same year, it was still illegal to be homosexual in Canada and people, mostly men, were incarcerated for it. Canada’s largest Pride celebration, Pride Toronto, was born out of protest in 1981 in response to series of bathhouse raids in the city by police. Pride celebrations, while often jubilant occasions, are at their root protests, and whoever cut the banner off the footbridge in Minden has demonstrated in their own special way why they are necessary.
If you’re somebody who walks around asking why the LGBTQ+ community gets its own parade, it’s probably because you are somebody who doesn’t need a parade. You probably have nothing to protest. You probably don’t face discrimination or harassment based on the way you were born.
Pride is not about special treatment, it’s about equal treatment. It’s about inclusion and equality, socially and under the law. If you have a problem with Pride, it’s definitely you who has the problem.
I hope that whoever cut down the banner was a teenager or a kid, so at least the act can be somewhat written off as youthful ignorance. If the culprit was an adult, then that’s just profoundly sad. Either way, it doesn’t detract from, and will not deter, the inclusive, caring and positive things happening in this community.
Case in point: After learning the banner had been cut down, a pair of Minden sisters, with some help from their grandmother, replaced the banner with one of their own making. Thank you to Naiomi and Clementine Bainbridge for your demonstration of the true spirit of this community.