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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Marching for gay rights in Little Rock while Mississippi burns in spotlight on intolerance

Posted By on Sat, Oct 5, 2013 at 6:44 AM


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The first Little Rock Pride march starts at 2 p.m. today at 600 East Capitol and winds through the River Market neighborhood to the Clinton Presidential Park. It's a demonstration of a commitment to diversity and equality for people of different sexual orientation. Organizers say that, while Little Rock is among the most tolerant places in Arkansas, full acceptance hasn't arrived yet, culturally or otherwise. Discrimination in employment and marriage, remember, remains both statutory and constitutional law in Arkansas.

A reminder of the path society yet has to travel comes from Oxford, MIss., where Ole Miss is coping with anti-gay outbursts at a recent campus theatrical production. Football players and others disrupted the play with homophobic heckling.

Maybe it was just stupid teen-aged boys being stupid teen-aged boys, as one student said. But that's not much of an excuse. And it says something about how some people believe there are classes of people that still may be safely harassed. Would Ole Miss football players catcall black actors for being black? The episode was a sad, but useful reminder of why pride parades are important. It is harder to vilify real people than imagined people. We should hope. From Ole Miss:

“We in 2013 like to think that we’ve come a long way, but this has opened our eyes that we haven’t,” said Garrison Gibbons, 20, an openly gay theater major who was one of the biggest targets of the audience’s behavior. “I’d like to think something good can come out of this,” he said.

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