It should come as no secret to anyone who regularly reads The Route 60 Sentinel, that we have supported Enid Pride pretty well since the inception of the website in January of 2010.  So, with that in mind, this article will be more from an editorial standpoint rather than a half-assed standpoint like you might read somewhere else (won’t mention name…..trying to be nice).  But hey.  At least they sent someone to cover it this year right?  Not like in years past under previous management that they chose simply to ignore the event as if it did not happen.

The first thing that I must comment on, is the venue change.  Having the event at Government Springs Park was a great change.  The sound of the water in the background.  The sight of the Humphrey Village up the hill.  The playground for the kids.  It just all fit.  Even the stage was a better fit for the event.  Rather than a make-shift stage, the gazebo provided a perfect venue for musical acts to perform from and for speakers to talk from.

I arrived during the message being delivered by Michael Korenblit.  I caught only portions of his message, but probably the most poignant moment for me was when he related a story that he related about his father that taught him a great lesson in life.  Watching television one day, Michael’s father saw something that disturbed him.  He immediately loaded the family up and drove to a park. It was a particularly warm day.  Luckily, the park had a water fountain.  Michael’s father told him to drink from the fountain.  Michael did as he was told and after, his father asked him about the water.  “Did it taste good?” he asked.  Michael affirmed that it did indeed taste good.  They walked to another fountain and his father asked him to take a drink from that one.  This one was marked “Coloreds Only.”  Michael drank from it.  “Did it taste good?” Michael’s father asked again.  Once again, Micheal said that it tasted good.  The lesson here, was about segregation obviously and how silly it was to force separate groups of people to drink from different fountains and all of the other things African-Americans were forced to do.  You see, Michael’s parents were from Poland and had endured all of the horrors of the Holocaust and the terror that the Nazis from Germany had brought to their country.  It’s pretty easy to look at that and see how it would be easy to draw a correlation between the Holocaust and segregation.  The Holocaust kept people separate.  It kept people from living a normal life, while others were allowed to live a normal life.  There was bullying.  Killing. I happen to be standing next to event coordinator for the Enid LGBT Coalition Kristi Balden and I told her, “You know segregation seems so idiotic to us now, and at some point in our future, so will discrimination based on your sexual orientation.  He’s right….it’s the same.”

Michael spoke of the idea by excluding a particular group from protection under the law, you were essentially one step away from going towards the previously mentioned terror.  Hell, if the world was led by the Oklahoma legislature, we probably would see a lot of similar things as what was mentioned.  Already, the LGBT community are bullied and terrorized.  Yet, they aren’t protected under hate crime laws in Oklahoma.  I know…I know…I can hear some of you saying, “Well, if it’s a crime, then it’s still a crime and people will be punished right?”  Well, we have hate crime laws already on the books.  Why not include them?  More specifically, WHY EXCLUDE THEM?  WHY EXCLUDE ANYONE?

At this point, I’d like to point everyone to Michael’s website http://www.respectdiversity.org/

Did you know that legally in Oklahoma a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities we do not allow them to adopt, marry, or be protected from discrimination based on their orientation?  How archaic is that?  Not only that, an Oklahoma District Judge refuses to allow name changes for those planning sex changes or those who have had them done.  (http://newsok.com/oklahoma-judge-refuses-to-allow-male-sex-change-candidates-to-have-feminine-names/article/3710063).  District Judge Bill Graves states that because the DNA does not change, they are still male (in the case he was ruling on) and should continue to have a male name.  Read the article.  It’s mind-numbing.  There is now an online petition to ask him to resign from the bench (http://www.change.org/petitions/oklahoma-county-district-judge-either-grant-transgender-name-changes-or-resign-as-judge).  Even if the petition reaches his desk, I doubt he would resign.  He’ll continue legislating from the bench and his own personal philosophies rather than by the United States Constitution like his other district court judges have done.

Ok.  🙂  I’ll step off the soap box, but please think of this logically.  If NBA basketball player Ron Artest, known for his violent style of on court play, can LEGALLY change his name to Metta World Peace, then why can’t Bob change his name to Angela?  I mean, really who cares?  A recent Route 60 poll on this issue, asking if people should be allowed to change their names had absolutely NO ONE vote NO.  NOBODY.  (Of course, someone will go hit no now….)

Back to Pride now.  You know what?  I think I’m going to let pictures tell the rest of the story.