Welcome to the parade

Reno Gay Pride: It’s not what you think

Reno Gay Pride festivities will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 17, Wingfield Park, downtown Reno.

Here it is, gay pride time again here in Reno. You would never see those words written together in a sentence two decades ago. Even today, many Renoites are too embarrassed to attend or scared of what they’ve heard about the event.

The gay community in Reno has come a long way. Reno’s gay population is growing at one of the fastest rates in the country. Local gays own businesses, work in every sector and consume stuff just like everyone else. They buy things.

Who are these gay people? They’re your brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle, mother, father, co-worker or friend. They are “us.”

Most gay people became aware of being gay at a very early age, and they were not victims of molestation by a male or reared by a single mother. Some scholars believe that a person is born gay. Who would actually choose to be gay in today’s society?

During the Greek and Roman periods, homosexuality was not considered perverse. It was not until Christianity became more influential within the realm of Roman leadership that homosexuality was eventually considered unacceptable.

OK, so fine, gays were accepted thousands of years ago. Who cares? The Bible clearly states being gay is a sin, so there you have it.

Well, not exactly. While the Bible does condemn homosexual and heterosexual cult prostitution, it says nothing about committed homosexual relationships. Jesus himself didn’t spend any time preaching about the sins of gays. And most churches interpret the Bible differently.

One passage commonly used to condemn gays is found in the Bible’s Old Testament book of Leviticus.

“If a man also lie with mankind as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they should surely be put to death,” says Leviticus 20:13.

But Christians today are not bound by the rules described in Leviticus, according to passages written in the New Testament. If Christians insist on using this passage to condemn homosexuality, then they’d be bound by the other rules and rituals described in Leviticus. These rules prohibit sexual intercourse during a women’s menstrual cycle, tattoos, wearing certain types of jewelry, eating certain kinds of meat and men cutting their hair or shaving their beards.

This law also endorses polygamy and requires Saturday to be reserved as the Sabbath. It’s simply unfair to use these passages to condemn homosexuality, while ignoring the fact that most Christians do not follow the rest of the rituals.

Often, gays live out their lives under constant, consistent and a barrage of hatred and condemnation by churches, ignorant co-workers and embarrassed family members. Most gays and lesbians live with constant fear of loss of employment, housing, friends and family.

When a gay parade is conducted, reporters end up recording the wildest side of the gay population, even though most gay pride parade attendees don’t act the way they’re portrayed on TV news. The media places focus on those participants who are “outrageous” because it sells and is provocative.

Some gay persons do act outrageously, in part, because they have felt oppressed and also because their actions and openness can serve to desensitize the stigma. Like it or not, after seeing two men holding hands in public dozens of times, a heterosexual person will eventually find it uninteresting.

Attend the gay pride event and experience for yourself just how "normal" it is. You may find some activities disturbing, but keep them in perspective. You will probably leaving thinking to yourself, "Oh, that’s it? Not much to it. What a bunch of nice folks."