Editorial-Not in my town
Last week, The Cliffton’s post sparked outrage in the LGBTQ community and beyond. The bar created a meme calling out a transgender patron and the issue has been swelling in Patchogue Village ever since, bringing up the larger issue of acceptance.
Earlier this week, hate mail was addressed and distributed to this newspaper as well as the chamber of commerce, LGBT Network and several others. The verbiage of the anonymous letter is not worth repeating or even addressing. But what is worth addressing is the ever-present need for acceptance.
For the first time ever, Alive After Five will be pride-themed, an effort a long time in the making. The LGBT Network addressed their community, stating that they would not be intimidated “back into the closets” by this letter but rather come out to the parade more courageous and brave than ever.
“Celebrating Pride today is just as important as it was 50 years ago at Stonewall. Long Island Pride is just around the corner, and this hateful letter is a reminder of the need for our visibility and solidarity. Come to LI Pride Weekend and march in the 29th annual Long Island Pride Parade on Sunday, June 23 in Long Beach. If you’re a youth, attend our annual Long Island LGBT Youth Prom. It’s time to continue to show our strength and power together,” said David Kilmnick, president/CEO of the LGBT Network.
Patchogue Village and its surrounding areas has a knowingly large LGBTQ community and just as the Hispanic community required healing after the murder of Marcelo Lucero — an admittedly much more heinous crime — so, too, will the LGBTQ members. We are not trying to compare the crime to a posting, but rather the community’s struggle for acceptance.
People are people and love is love. Though those sayings might be over-said, it’s not demonstrated enough. Patchogue has come a long way; it’s time for us to continue to celebrate our differences, all of them.
As for the owners of The Cliffton, your apology has been recognized, but so has the long history of inappropriate postings. While we don’t expect a bar to be entirely appropriate, as a newspaper and proponent of free speech, we do, however, expect a local business and chamber of commerce member to be more respectful of the community they serve.
Furthermore, the protest was peaceful and your approach to slamming your own establishment, while humorous, might not cut it. Sometimes, taking a mistake seriously and owning it goes a lot further than making a joke. Either love the community you serve, or leave it.
To help, take action and stop hate, give to the LGBT Network to support their community education and anti-bullying programs. To donate, visit www.lgtbnetwork.org.
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