It’s the irony of it all, the massive, overwhelming, elephant in the room-sized irony of it all, that just baffles me.

I am speaking, of course, about the furor and uproar surrounding the intended-to-be-joyous celebration of Pride Month.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at [email protected]

The voices of opposition say their concern over the pride crosswalk in Brunswick “isn’t homophobia,” it is a concern for maintaining the law and providing for safety – and then someone in opposition unlawfully vandalizes and desecrates the cheerful little thing by driving recklessly across it, leaving black scars, thereby endangering public safety as well. Brunswick police are investigating what they say are two individuals who deliberately rode their motorcycles across the crosswalk, mere hours after it was completed, leaving the long, black marks.

Irony.

The voices of opposition say there is no need for a community to declare itself a safe space. Meanwhile, in Idaho, 31 angry white men were recently arrested after piling into a van to go “disrupt” (and we know what this means) a pride event in the community of Coeur d’Alene.

Irony.

It is ironic that the forces of hate are actively causing the very things they say they are against.

It’s sort of like wrapping yourself in our flag while attempting to overthrow the government for which it stands or loudly proclaiming to be “pro-life” while refusing to feed the hungry or house the homeless. Or saying you believe that the government should stay out of people’s lives, all while trying to pass laws about who they can love.

Except irony is too small a word for this kind of hate.

“Irony,” famously misused (thereby creating an irony in and of itself) by Alanis Morissette in the song “Isn’t It Ironic,” quite literally means “the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.”

See? Humorous. It is in the dictionary, and while this may be ridiculous, it is far from humorous.

Is the angry violation of our cheerful little rainbow crosswalk on par with the 31 men set on causing some mayhem? No. But it feels like it is a scrap of the same cloth. This fundamentally serves to remind us all why Pride Month remains important – and why having a public declaration of support really, truly matters.

Since the dawn of creation, our social groups and communities have included people who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. How safe and welcome they felt to be true to themselves has fluctuated over time.

Many civilizations, even ancient ones, have been quite open and welcoming. Others, less so. What we know to be true, however, is that our communities rely upon their contributions, and when humans are unable to be fully themselves, all of us lose.

Take, for one small example, the life of the brilliant Alan Turing. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately. Alan Tuning was an Olympic-level runner and was the genius who cracked the Nazi Enigma code, giving the Allies the edge in winning the war and saving countless lives. His work led to modern leaps in computing and artificial intelligence, and he was officially recognized as a war hero.

Nevertheless, at the time, being gay was against the law. Proof that sometimes, laws are wrong and need to be changed, as this law later was. For the “crime” of being who he was, Alan Turing was convicted and punished with chemical castration. As a result, he took his own life. He was only 41.

The mind reels at the thought of how much we lost when we lost him. What else might he have done with his life?

We can’t bring Turing back, but we can strive to do better for this generation.
Let’s all raise our voices loud and clear to make plain that our community is indeed the welcoming hometown we want it to be. And while we are at it, let’s give that Brunswick crosswalk a fresh coat of color, shall we?

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