Pride…And Prejudice

It’s June. Pride Month.

I’ve followed–and supported–the movement for LGBTQ equality for more years than I can count. When Indianapolis had a newspaper that served the gay community, I was a regular columnist; when I was Executive Director of Indiana’s ACLU, I established a “Project for Equal Rights”–a project focused on gay rights (back then, ambiguity in the title was advisable.)

So I’ve been gratified by the enormous cultural and legal changes that have led to wide acceptance of gays and lesbians (transgender folks not so much…), reflected in positive newscasts about upcoming Pride events and the enormous growth of participation in those events.

I attended the first Pride Parade (proper name: Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade–don’t ask me how that name originated; I have no idea). It was a resolute effort, but as I recall (granted, at my age, memory is fallible) a fairly sad affair. There were six or eight floats, and at most a couple hundred spectators. My husband, kids and (later) grandkids have attended every year since, and at the last parade–held before COVID imposed a hiatus–there were something like 80-100 floats and over a 100,000 spectators.

It isn’t simply that the numbers have grown; the nature of the participants has expanded. Initially, both the parade floats and festival were sponsored by bars and other businesses and nonprofits that catered specifically to the gay community. These days, marchers and floats include a mix of churches and synagogues, healthcare organizations, car dealerships, universities, civil rights groups, government officials and political candidates–an array broadly representative of the entire Indianapolis community.

LGBTQ progress is undeniable. But the current backlash isn’t limited to the determined assault on women’s rights. As the Brookings Institution recently warned, this year’s Pride comes at a perilous time for the LGBTQ community.

The report began with recognition of widespread cultural change

The year 2015 marked a historic milestone in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights: the Supreme Court’s recognition of marriage equality. The court’s ruling both reflected and promoted an incredible sea change in American life. In the two decades prior to the decision, public opinion on LGBTQ+ rights improved more rapidly than any other attitude in the history of American opinion polling.

The author followed that paragraph with a description of research reflecting those changes, especially focusing on their effects for students and young people.

He then described the less-rosy findings of that research:

For the first time ever, the CDC included a question about sexual identity in its national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). This survey provided the first population-based, nationally representative portrait of sexual minority high school students since the Add Health study two decades prior. The results were sobering. Among students who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or “not sure” (LGBQ), about 40% reported being bullied, 39% reported having “seriously considered” suicide, and a full 56% reported clinically significant signs of depression. Although some of the CDC’s estimates were later shown to be inflated by “mischievous responders,” these bullying and mental health disparities remained remarkably stable across analyses.

Since 2015, the story told by America’s LGBQ high school students has not improved. (Because these data do not assess gender identity or sexual identities beyond L/G/B/Q, I refer here only to LGBQ students). In Figure 1, I present estimates from the 2015, 2017, and 2019 National YRBS. For LGBQ respondents, the results show no change in bullying, no change in suicidal ideation, and a slight upward trend in depression. On every measure, LGBQ students report substantially worse outcomes than their straight peers: LGBQ students are about 70% more likely to report bullying, twice as likely to report suicidal ideation, and three times more likely to report depression. Population-representative data on transgender students are more limited. However, the data that are available provide a picture of an especially vulnerable population, reporting outcomes similar to or worse than those reported by LGBQ students. Early indications suggest that the experiences of LGBTQ+ teens only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And then there is the “far-reaching and well-orchestrated backlash against LGBTQ+ rights.”  The Brookings report tells us that a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ measures have been proposed and passed across the country over the past three years. (In just the first three months of this year, 238 bills restricting LGBTQ+ rights have been introduced.)

 These legislative initiatives also appear to have emboldened a wave of LGBTQ+ book bans, efforts to dismantle gay-straight alliances, and the forced removal of LGBTQ+-affirming materials from school spaces.

Given the success of Mitch McConnell and his Senate Republicans in politicizing  the Supreme Court, rights like marriage equality “appear newly uncertain.”

On June 11th, my family will join the throng of supporters cheering for Pride –and hoping for the defeat of re-emerging prejudice.


  1. There is a lot of progress to be sure. In those early days that Prof K talks of, I was involved with a group that put on the pride event. I called and FAXED all the TV stations and newspapers in the lead up to the event… several times. Then I would call them again on Monday to inquire WHY they ignored the event. “Nobody told us anything about it”. When I pointed out all the calls and Faxes, the conversation was pretty much over. When they covered events a bit later, they would go to the event and only talk with the crazed anti gay preacher. That was like going to a black event and only talking with the KKK demonstrators. That was how it was done. It is great that the media is so much better today.
    The kids now facing all the anti-gay stuff have a tough time. It is a LOT more visible but not really safer. About 35% of the gay kids go home to crazed maga / qanon homes where the crazy shit is spewed. How safe is that kid going to feel? It is great that we had the Will and Grace years and some folks get Gay married and all but these kids live in HOSTILE anti Gay Homes. Little wonder they are depressed and self destructive

  2. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to March with either my church or my employer in the parade. Identity, whether gender or race, is worth fighting for.

  3. Despite the polling statistics cited, we still need a much better understanding of sexual orientation, esp. among adolescents. Adolescents suffer a lot of confusion about their sexual identity, especially in today’s open discussions of sexuality, resulting in anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, and suicidality. Why should they be pressured to identify by sexual orientation? Adolescents suffer extraordinary mental health issues just getting through the teen years. So, tying these statistics to mental health is not at all clear. Note that I am not dismissing the statistics, I just don’t think the relationship is a direct 1:1 correlation. There are many variables at work here, and to use self-report polling by adolescents as though it is scientific fact is just wrong. Lotsa work to do here, and the influence of activists on adolescent attitudes is a major factor.

  4. And Democrats haven’t “politicized” the Supreme Court? Democratic Presidents have appointed justices who feel it is their role to adopt certain policy positions, under the guise of interpreting the Constitution, which approach has usurped the role of the political branches to adopt (or not adopt) those policies. To my view, when you have judges no longer being umpires but being policy advocates, that’s a politicization of that branch.

  5. Paul: you should be blushing. Mitch and the Republicans use the strategy you just described: accuse the Democrats of doing exactly what Republicans are doing then do it anyway. You certainly can’t believe that it is anything but loading the courts with conservative ideologues, when Mitch delayed the hearing on the Democratic president’s choice because it was too close to the election, followed by the sprint to approve Barrett. If there is any criticism for Democrats, it’s that they need to play like Mitch does.

  6. Christopher; we need a much better ACCEPTANCE of sexual orientation which we do not understand. When Sonny and Cher’s daughter became Sonny and Cher’s son; I didn’t understand the genetic basis but I did accept the reality that it does exist.

    Paul K Ogden; you have again bared your lack of knowledge, understanding and acceptance of the blatant facts, via Trump/McConnell appointments of a few hundred federal judges and those in SCOTUS, as being the work of Republicans. Democrats recognized it as it happened and recognize and understand that it was and is politics, we continue to call them out because we do not accept it. Your support of Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence “Uncle” Thomas is more of an insult to all women than Trump’s “grab them by their pussies” because Kavanaugh and Thomas words, decisions and actions affect the nation. But; it is to be expected from all Republicans today as they project the blame onto the Democrats to cover their own guilt.

    I watched a brief interview of Sen. John Thune, Republican from South Dakota, as he praised the benefits of the general public ownership – and use – of AR-15 assault weapons which were designed for military use. His South Dakota constituents use them to shoot Prairie Dogs which are rabbit size rodents. Their mounds are beneficial to grass development and renewal of top soil quality and crucial for soil quality and agriculture. Rather like “It is a sin to kill a mockingbird” but has escalated to killing our children; never giving them a chance to be beneficial to this country as our future leaders. The Pulse mass shooting of LGBTQs in Orlando, Florida, was Prejudice and another loss of Pride in America for all Americans. And let us never forget Matthew Shepard! The current committee to find solutions to the “gun problem” here is refusing full background checks to approve sales and denying the sale of military weapons to the general public which ARE THE PROBLEM. What is left for them to change to bring about solutions to the problems they are refusing to act on?

  7. Back in 2014 or 2015 churches of various denominations across the country were discussing whether to accept gays into their congregations and those denominations formally voted yay or nay. Personally, I was so repulsed by this unChristian judgement of fellow human beings in the church I belonged to that it ultimately became the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I stopped attending church and never looked back.

    The republican party is bloated with people who claim to be Christian while their own behavior, beliefs and words prove the exact opposite.

  8. This is another topic where the ideologues from each party point their hypocritic fingers at the other. They are obviously both correct but why shouldn’t the jurists be as corrupt as the rest of the government?

    I’m working on an article now that is an excellent critique of Chinese society and how their Politburo controls the economy and society in Beijing for 1.5 billion citizens.

    How they use Marxism for their economy to control the economic wolves.

    In the USA, the economic wolves control society because money equates to power and control. We are an oligarchy and this oligarchy controls our government and free press. These two mechanisms were established to keep the economic wolves at bay. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. The only question is when it collapsed.

    The sad part is we continue going as if the collapse never happened because of all the propaganda. It requires more and more propaganda and more control of the information.

    The solution is we need to fix it but the economic wolves won’t allow it. They still control things through WEF, MIC, and the meeting at the Bilderberg Society, which happened recently in Washington – no press invited. LOL

    What did George Carlin say, “It’s a big club, and you and I ain’t invited.”

    The divisive wedges are used to keep us from coming together to fix things. As long as we are fighting over abortion, gay rights, race and sex, that’s all that matters.

  9. If Justice Alito has his way, we won’t be going back to the 1950s. We’ll be going back to the 1750s or before. Just think, if we could go back to 1450, America would really be great because we wouldn’t have had the opportunities to screw it up that we’ve had since 1492.

  10. All of the “Other” ways of being human (There is an old book, written by Gene Lisitzky, called “Four Ways of Being Human,” written in 1956, as an intro.
    to anthropology; a good book. We are a long way from 1956, well some of us are, and we can see that there are MANY ways of being human), are
    just as natural as the either/or, binary way of doing it
    Adam Grant, in “Originals, How Non-conformists Move the World,” reports that “Evidence suggests that the more older bothers a man has, the more likely he is to be homosexual. Each older bother increases the probability that a man is homosexual by about 33 percent, possibly by causing maternal immune systems to produce ,ore antibodies to testosterone, which influences the developing fetus. This birth-order effect holds only for men and is unique to the number of older brothers, not younger brothers or older or younger sisters. Researchers estimate that at least one in seven gay men can attribute their homosexuality to the effects of older brothers, and among gay men with at least three older brothers, the birth order effect is stronger than all other causes.” Footnote, pg. 159
    I find this research to be fascinating, and am sure that all the “other” ways of being human are just as “natural.”
    Sadly, it is also “natural” that so many of our fellow citizens are resolutely blind, and living in the 1200’s.

  11. Christopher,

    Absolutely, I agree with your opinion! I’ve actually brought that out a couple of days ago. Which hopefully you read on this blog.

    People act like homosexuality is something brand new! What’s brand new are the influencers that promote it to adolescents.

    In the previous millennia, homosexuality was the wealthy individuals privilege. It was practiced in the open, no big secret.

    One of the biggest drivers on homosexuality or bisexuality or however anyone else wants to describe it, is Me’ism or Me’ist practices!

    Everyone wants attention, everyone wants to be noticed, everyone wants to be an influencer or influenced. So, they keep adding letters to the LGBT alphabet. It gets longer and longer every year! Why?

    How many genders are there supposed to be now? 9 or 10? Nope, 72! Why? We’re all supposed to be enlightened? Science and biology say there are 2, male and female! Everyone here is a free moral agent, free to live your life as you desire, BUT, I don’t agree that the issues dealing with the gay alphabet is the same as Racism.

    How many people of African descent were hung up on hanging trees across this country? The songs that were actually penned because of it, looking like a tree full of purple fruit. The slaughter of Native Americans, men women and children because their land was valuable and the white man wanted it.

    The sexual abuse of African slaves by their slave owners, was well known! Slave owners in this country, brazil, spain, and other bastions of slavery, regularly raped their male slaves. Was this type of rape caused by some sort of genetic issue? Was it about male dominance over other males? Was it gratifying? It happened for millennia.

    In many ways homosexuality was revered, such as in ancient Greece concerning the Sacred Band of Thebes. An elite military unit that was known for its fierceness. It consisted of 150 pairs of male lovers. They fought so fierce because they were protecting their lovers. Their fierceness ended the Spartan dominance.

    And let’s not forget the wealthy Greek and Roman business elite who would pay parents of handsome young men/boys to make them an understudy for business but also for sexual avarice! These were called Catamites, and after they reached adulthood, they were released from their mentor to go out in the world of business and start the cycle themselves with another Young Catamite.

    Obviously we all know the history of the Catholic church, they’ve been practicing homosexuality for well more than a millennia. The European hierarchy, the American hierarchy, Asian hierarchy, all engaged in this sort of behavior. It was fashionable, then it was forbidden, now it’s fashionable again! History is cyclical. But the history of homosexuality, the history of influencing adolescents, the history of pedophilia, is historical and, there can be no question concerning that history! People might not like it, but that’s the way it is!

    But hey, denial is not a river in egypt! You have those who deny slavery was actually slavery, or deny that there was a holocaust and slaughter of Jews during the second world war, or that there really is pedophilia, or, that it should be legal! It doesn’t matter if it’s gay or straight! There’s plenty of perversion to go around.

    Getting back to the 72 genders, what this is all about, is a result of Me’ism! People want to be noticed, and therefore they need to write a book or make a stink, so that they can influence those who are the most vulnerable. And that’s the adolescence aspect!

    Adults are one thing, pubescent or prepubescent children are another! And, that’s predatory in my book!

    History shows adults are going to do what they want to do, but they need to leave the kids alone. Morally and legally children are bound to their parents, their parents are responsible for those children, when they’re of age, then they can make their decisions!

  12. John S, there are comments you’ve made that I’ve agreed with, and those that I haven’t.

    On this topic, I can’t stay silent, your words betray a deep and horrible homophobia. Your mention that what’s “new are the influencers that promote it to adolescents” is offensive. You imply that elementary school education related to these topics is grooming. You describe it as “Me’ism”, which hearkens back to previous decades when it was (wrongly) classified as a mental illness. Again, that’s incredibly offensive. The letters of the “LGBT alphabet” are not the point at all. The point is that sexual attraction and gender expression are NOT binary, but a spectrum. (It’s even more complicated than that, of course, but this still describes a good basis for trying to understand the issue.) So what if people keep trying to categorize it? That’s what people do. The point is to rid the schools of the stigma associated with being different. And if we can teach some tolerance and empathy for those that do not fall among the majority (in whatever category), that’s all to the better. We NEED to normalize this understanding.

    You trivialize the suffering that people who think like you cause all of these people by pushing the blame onto them. It’s sickening.

    I am so glad my non-straight daughter will never have to come into contact with you. It’s crap like you spout on this topic that pushes them towards depression and suicidal ideation. You may feel no shame about that, but you damn well should.

    Ultimately, YOU are the one with the problem here, not them.

  13. I was tempted to do internet shouting at John S, but John H has handled it with aplomb. Here here!

  14. John H,

    Really? Comment John is pathetic! Did I mention elementary schools? You’re trying to imply I said something that I didn’t! That is pathetic! Actually, on top of that, it’s ignorant!

    What I stated in my comment can be backed up by historical documentation 100%!

    My granddaughter identifies as gay! So, I suppose I’m evil? Does she see me as evil? Does she see me as some sort of dastardly individual? We talk about it! She made her choice when she was old enough! That being said, it does have a bearing on the ignorance of your comment though!

    Binary, one or two, up or down, left or right, white or black? Is that with the rainbow means John, it leaves a lot of ambiguity to the imagination?

    The Catholic church, and all that they had done concerning pedophilia, was not a new thing! Even in the beginning of the holy Roman church. Early Israelites were condemned because of prostitutes, male prostitutes, who were in service at God’s temple. Those, were young men and boys! These very practices were gleaned from the Roman, Greek, Hindu, and other pagan religions! Tu’er Shen, (the rabbit God, the leveret spirit), managed the sex between male lovers!

    Interestingly, Firefly House, a pagan Wiccan organization, celebrated supreme Court victories on gay rights. Because they claim that the LGBTQ+XYZ123 communities position on relationships reflect, or are most closely in alignment with the pagan and Wiccan practices. (Their own words not mine)

    Or how about the House of Our Lady of Celestial Fire? (E.O.C.T.O. “celebrating their queer ancestors, ancients, deities, and facilitating those coming out especially those who are trans and younger pagans who are searching)”

    What about the Minoan Brotherhood?? Their motto? “Celebrating life, men loving men, and magic!”

    The sad thing about it john, is you have no comprehension! You are unable to comprehend what you read. You tell me anything that I said that was false! Anything that I said that was historically bogus! And if you do, considering I’ve researched this for years, I will have to tell you you’re a liar!

    I also said, that everyone is a free moral agent! Everyone who is of age can make their own decisions on how they live their lives, I don’t care, but I don’t swill the propaganda John! In my personal opinion, I don’t agree that everything is okay! Anything and everything goes? No parameters? No guard rails? But, that’s up to the individual as long as they’re of age! Hey, there is a guy who married his car! There is a woman who married her horse! That’s their decision, their inherent right to do that. It’s part of the Me’ist worship that is so prevalent today! All of the constant focus, all of the bling grabs the attention of the youngest, the most impressionable, and the most introverted or innocent! Why wouldn’t it be attractive?

    Before you unleash another broadside John, you better think about it!

  15. John Sorg: Enough.

    The only “choice” your granddaughter made was to come out or stay closeted in order to avoid the sort of people who hold these very unfortunate misconceptions. I suggest you read something other than religious broadsides on the issue; in the meantime, please refrain from further postings on this subject.

  16. Two notes on different sexuality from one of the scientists in the group.

    Well over a decade ago, some scientists changed one gene in the normally heterosexual, male fruitfly, and they became bisexual. Nobody talked them into it and it wasn’t a “societal fad” as a friend of mine contends (not a commenter here).

    This is the speculative one – even more years ago, a friend was studying oxytocin receptor distribution in the rat brain. There were certain male/female differences that fit neatly with the female’s role in reproduction and lactation, but there were other distributional differences in other parts of the brain that were unexpected.
    We speculated on the question of potential differences between “straight” and “gay” men, but, in those days, even that speculation could have been career ending. I don’t think anything ever came of that, but I still wonder what other evidence exists for a genetic (or epigenetic) component to “gender identity”.

  17. Regarding social activists moving Critical Race Theory (and multiple gender identity names) into our education system, I didn’t think it was a real problem. Then, I saw a teacher get fired because she refused to teach CRT in Fishers 6th grade. She then toured the state showing people exactly how the social norming program she was being required to teach is indeed directly derivative of CRT being pushed by an activist minority.

    Since then, I’ve become more and more informed on the issue of the normalization of minorities BEYOND teaching of acceptance of all human beings, i.e. making kids identify with slaveholders because they are white, or making kids choose a sexual identity on a poll that lists our several LGBTQ+ types and adds on the single socialized title “straight” at the bottom of the list, instead of the more accurate “heterosexual.”

    Mind you, I’m all for “live and let live” and “every person is doing the best they can.” But there is indeed an activist agenda to teach – not just tolerance – but normalization and personal acceptance of minority identities and blame against those who don’t buy in to that point of view. Denial of this agenda and cancelling of people who point it out is part of the agenda.

    And don’t think this is just on the left wing. The right wing has been doing the same thing for their issues for more than 70 years now: defeating Constitutional gun regulations of the 1920s and 30s, politicizing abortion so as to enforce Christian values on the whole nation, etc.

    I am liberal because the Enlightenment resulted in a liberal U.S. Constitution. I am conservative because I see the value of passing on well-reasoned principles across the generations. And why am I even explaining this to you? Because I’m afraid of those who will attack and cancel instead of discuss. Jeez!

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