Protesting requires responsibility

Protesting requires responsibility

Trevor Shanahan

Ah, Pride Fest, a festival hosted for the benefit of people to express themselves without judgement or ridicule, or at least it should be that way. I, myself, attended Pride Fest and got the chance to play saxophone with a band whom I, unfortunately, do not remember the name of.

The festival itself was a hoot and a half. Food trucks peppered the perimeter, music could be heard from every corner of the park and the drag show was anything but disappointing.

However, as far as disappointment goes, the same could not be said for the protestors who stood in anger by the entrance of the park. 

Roughly an hour after my arrival, I found myself parched and in desperate need of water. To my dismay, the water fountain was on the opposite end of the park. I made my way there so I could quench my raging thirst.

Upon returning from the drinking fountain, I found them: the protestors. Now, my eyesight is poor. So initially, I had no idea that their poster boards were smeared with offensive comments and remarks about the festivities. I approached them.

The group of protestors was not large and only consisted of a mother and her few children. As usual, my curiosity got the best, or worst, of me and I decided to talk to their mother. I held no ill will against the children, as I’m quite certain their mother forced them to attend, in much similarity as parents force their kids to attend church. The children’s faces were blank and they did not seem amused by their mother’s disposition.

I confronted the mother. She was undoubtedly, a textbook, racist homophobe. She sported a white shirt, white pants and a white pair of sneakers. I do believe she cringed when I came up to her. This is not because of anything I said, it was due to my apparel. I wore black skinny jeans, a black wife-beater, leather boots and a pink scarf.

Now, initially, I did not approach her to have a discussion. I came up to them because I thought that taking a photo with them would be rather funny.

Upon my approach, her grimace became sinister. Once I asked to take a photo with them, she screamed, “stay away from my children.” The shrill nature of her voice was enough to make anyone recoil in discomfort. I then stated, politely, “I am not gay.” She then retorted, “I don’t care. Stay away from them.” Needless to say, her children were emotionless throughout the entire endeavor. After the interaction, I walked away and never looked back.

Even though Pride Fest was a few months ago, the event with the protestors still lingers within my thoughts. 

Yes, one is allowed to have freedom of thought and speech, but the way they carried themselves was outlandish and quite rude. Still, despite the presence of the protestors, the festival was full of frivolity and I cannot wait to attend next year.

Trevor Shanahan is a senior, 

English major.