Question: Will there or will there not be a Fourth Annual Northwest Indiana Rainbow Days gay pride parade and picnic this year?
Answer: It’s up to the region’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community, as well as friends and supporters of the event.
Organizers initially publicized there will be an event on June 11 in the Miller section of Gary. But then they canceled it without explanation.
I contacted its director, Tyona Wesley, who has been the driving force and familiar face of the parade. She told me she has since been flooded with calls and e-mails about her decision to cancel the growing event.
“After truly thinking about the matter, I felt that the GLBT community needed to know why, and what could be done to do something differently,” she told me.
Last week, she sent an open letter to the GLBT community and event supporters, explaining the situation.
“The first three pride parades and pride picnics were great, but since the very first pride parade I was informed that moving the pride event solely to Miller would help attendance,” she wrote. “This year, that was the case.”
But, “when official emails were sent out to register for the pride celebration, only three responded right away. It has now been a month. This has been a perplexing matter to me, not to mention I am going through some very serious personal issues and wasn’t sure where anyone stood with the pride celebration.”
Still, she told people, even by moving the event to Miller “you can’t get past the fact that the city is still Gary. And, despite our best efforts, some people just can’t get past the Gary part.”
“I have beat myself up time and time again because I truly didn’t know what to do,” she wrote. “I went back and forth on the matter for a while, even making my worries publicly known. Eventually deciding maybe the best thing to do would be to walk away.”
But, she has learned, maybe that was the wrong choice.
“It’s not that I don’t want the 4th Gay Pride Parade to move forward. I’m just not sure how much the (GLBT) community wants it,” she wrote.
In other words, not enough people, groups, and supporters have stepped up to make it a reality. In other words, the region’s gay community doesn’t care about the event. But why?
Because it takes place in Gary? Because they’re afraid to out themselves in public? Because the fledgling parade pales in comparison to the big-city gay pride parades?
I don’t know. I’m just a straight guy who has been trying to help the cause.
“I’m not afraid to ask for help, but I’m at a crossroads as to what the GLBT community really wants,” she said. “If this is something you want, I need to hear from you ASAP.”
There you have it. It’s now up to those of you who care, whether you’re gay or not.
Contact Wesley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 810-3775, or visit www.nwinrainbowdays.bravehost.com.
From the mouths of... babes?
Last week during a visit to an elementary school, I overhead a handful of third-graders tell their friends that their parents never come to any extracurricular activities.
“They usually just drop me off and pick me up. But they never stay,” explained one young girl matter-of-factly, shrugging her shoulders.
She told this to her friends during a “field day” at their school, when students compete against each other in Olympics-like activities. Sure there were plenty of parents on hand, watching the events while bundled up on a crisp blustery day. But there was a noticeable absence of parents, guardians, grandparents or anyone else who gave a care about many other students, including that girl.
It was painfully obvious that I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Too many of those kids noticed years ago, even at their young age.
That same day, a few of the third-graders asked me to play a popular game, handmade on a sheet of paper folded into half, then half again, and again.
On the outside of the folded paper was the word “PUSH.” So I pushed it as they giggled.
On the inside fold of the paper were the words “BOY” and “GIRL.” I was told to push “GIRL” because I’m a boy. So I did.
On the next inside fold were the words “LOVE,” “HUG,” “LICK,” and “CHEAT ON.”
“Pick one,” a girl told me.
I picked hug, and she opened the paper to show a list of numbers and corresponding students’ names.
“Pick a number,” the girl said.
I picked seven.
“Ha ha! You have to hug Madison G.!” she yelled.
I didn’t know who Madison G. was, and I didn’t hug her. But I immediately opened that paper to reread what caught my attention a second earlier.
“CHEAT ON”? Really? Even third-graders, I asked the girl, know about partners who cheat on each other?
“Oh yeah!” she replied as if I asked if grass is green.
My point, again? Kids of all ages are sponges, absorbing everything around them, so don’t think for a minute they’re not paying attention to you, your life, and your misdeeds.
Sure they look like “kids,” and they are, but many of them seem so much older than they really are these days.
Small business shout out
Have you tried The Hillbilly Grill, a hole-in-the-wall little eatery on U.S. 20 in Portage, just east of Ind. 249?
It’s easy to miss but hard to forget with its redneck theme, cooked-to-order food, and humorous menu items.
There’s the “Big Dipper” half-pound hamburger, stuffed with cheese, grilled, dipped in onion ring batter and deep fried. No kidding.
There’s the “Un-Natural Disaster” burger, topped with nacho cheese, chili, onions, and sour cream. And there’s the fried bologna sandwich, a staple at such a place, right? Welllllllllll, doggie!
There’s even a “Wall of Cholesterol” for diners who use a punch card to eat 10 burgers and get a free one in return. You gotta love it.
The joint opened in October, and you can reach it at 841-9210.
Visit Jerry’s blog at http://blogs.post-trib.com/davich/, his Facebook, and Twitter at @jdavich