Keeping and open mind

You might think that a Gay Pride rally that drew 15 people would not be considered a great success, but we would beg to disagree. On the contrary, for the first such rally on the Milford Oval, it was a fine start, aided by the number of people who honked their car horns in support as they cruised around the Oval on June 30.

And we again want to commend the Milford selectmen for agreeing to designate June as Gay Pride Month, something we hope all communities will do next year.

While we are on the commendation track, we can’t forget to mention George Hoyt and Selectman Paul Dargie who organized the rally. Nothing ever gets accomplished if people don’t step up and Hoyt has been in the forefront of the local Gay Pride movement for some time. Dargie is the most prominent local official to do more than just OK a proclamation and that’s something we hope people will remember.

Oh, and we certainly don’t want to forget David Vogt who took that wonderful photo of the Oval bandstand that appeared on the front page of last week’s Cabinet, a picture looking out from the bandstand with a panorama of the Oval, and with Gay Pride flags flying proudly. By itself, the photo says something important about Milford and its citizens.

Milford wasn’t the only community to hold a Gay Pride rally — Nashua not only had a rally, but hosted the city’s first Gay Pride parade.

We have come a long way in the decades since the police raid on the Stonewall bar in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1969 when gay men and women took risks when they gathered in bars like the Stonewall, the Gold Bug and Julius’s in the Village. Then, “gay pride” wasn’t something to be celebrated, it was something that would have seemed a contradiction in terms.

But not now. Now, fortunately, gay men and women are accepted as our neighbors and friends, teachers and athletes, politicians and police officers.

Certainly there are still people who, for reasons we can’t understand, hate and fear gay people, just as there are still people who hate and fear people of color. It’s their loss. When you write out of your lives people who are of different color, different sexual orientation, or who have different opinons, you drastically narrow your scope.

There is not much we can do for those people except to urge them to be more open to the people around them.

As open as Milford is to Gay Pride Month.