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A message to my fellow Christians: I hope you're having a super uncomfortable Pride month

I know from painful, hard-earned experience what discomfort can do to change minds.

Nobody should live in fear.

This post was originally published on Substack. You can find it here.

I was a small town, conservative girl when my husband and I relocated to Orlando, Florida. I spent my time going from work to the barn, work to the barn, crying as I brushed my horse's mane.

"I'll never make friends in this town,” I sobbed over the phone with my mom one night.

The next day at work, I met Matt.

He had a brilliant smile and a southern drawl and he sounded like home. He loved horses, too, having spent years doing rodeo. Our friendship was instant and easy.

He visited the barn and taught me how to lasso. I picked up his favorite latte on the way to work. And on our lunch breaks, he would gush all about the love of his life, Jesse. I assumed Jesse was a girl, but that assumption turned out to be wrong. When we all met for lunch one day, I couldn't conceal my shock.

"Oh my GOSH, Matt! You're gay?"


"Um, DUH." He laughed. “Did the cowboy hat throw you off?”

I then remembered he had recently pointed out a bar a few blocks from my house. He mentioned that it was a fun place to go, and I replied that one day we should….but I hadn’t noticed the rainbow details.

"MK, your gay-dar isn't malfunctioning. It's completely nonexistent."

Matt and Jesse told me funny stories about drag contests and bouncers who wore shorty shorts. They insisted I would love Thursday night karaokes, but I assured them it wasn't my scene.

I blushed and giggled a little at the idea. It sounded fun, if not a bit scandalous.

Two people smiling together wearing Pride gear

Pride is not just some party.

Mary Katherine Backstrom

A week or so after that hilarious lunch date, I was driving home from a friend’s house, when I witnessed a young lady get struck by a car. I swerved to the side of the road and jumped out of my vehicle, screaming.

In an instant, people poured out of the bar to assist in the emergency. I barely registered that they were dressed flamboyantly. Their make up didn't strike me as strange. In that moment, we were all scared human beings. Their hearts were racing just like mine.

A drag queen cradled the woman’s head in his hands as I called the police.

“Don’t move, baby girl,” he comforted the woman. “Don’t mess up these pretty braids.”

It was a fraction of a moment that felt like forever. I can still hear her crying for Momma. Thankfully, the club was a block from the hospital. The ambulance arrived in an instant.

When the lights and sirens finally faded, my adrenaline couldn’t handle silence. It was like every one of us had been shaken like soft drinks, and in that moment, we had all cracked open. There were hugs and prayers exchanged between strangers. I remember someone humming a hymn.

Then slowly, one by one, the crowd dispersed. We had to go back to our lives. But not before exchanging a couple of phone numbers, promising to disperse any updates.

I called my friends, Matt and Jesse. I knew the gay community was a close one and I wondered if they had heard any news.

Matt asked around, but didn’t hear much.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “We will know more tomorrow.”

I decided to stay up until then.

The next morning, we all went to breakfast with the drag queens who had started a text thread for updates. We bonded over hash browns and our collective trauma—and after coffee, just some regular life stories.

The woman, we learned, was in critical condition. Two broken legs and a fractured spine. James, who had cradled her head so gently, had probably saved her life. Turns out, he had done so with great intention because not only was he a drag queen, but once a month he returned to his rural hometown to serve as a medic for the volunteer fire department.

A hero. An absolute gem of a human.

Two years later, those same gentle heroes were working their jobs at Pulse when a hate-crazed terrorist made his way through the doors with a semi-automatic rifle. When he first started shooting, some patrons kept dancing.

They thought it was part of the music.

That detail never fails wreck my heart.

They kept dancing.

They just wanted to dance.

I’ll never forget the pit in my stomach as I stared at my phone through the night. Praying each name in that years-long text thread was sleeping at home in their beds. After four sleepless nights, we received confirmation—two of the group had been working. Both had escaped and survived the massacre.

But it wasn’t a happy ending.

An act of hate forever changed their lives, and they were deeply, irreversibly altered. One turned to drugs and the other disappeared. I pray he is still alive, somewhere.

But, yes. They survived. Thank God, I should say.

In an act of terror that killed 49 and hurt scores more, they were the lucky ones.

But when I think of that word...”lucky”.

God, it honestly pisses me off.

That’s how low the bar is, y’all. That’s where we are as a society.

Our gay friends are sometimes just lucky to survive.

How can this be who we are?

If you talk to the LGBTQ community, and I mean really get to know them, you will hear a whole lot of heart breaking versions of what they consider to be “lucky.”

Their parents didn’t disown them. They are lucky.

They haven’t been physically assaulted. Lucky.

They survived a terrorist attack.

Lucky.

I am so deeply over this shit.

Nobody, nobody should live in fear. Nobody should feel lucky that they’ve avoided physical abuse, or emotional abuse, or my Lord, mass murder.

Six short years after the Pulse shooting, what is it going to take?

Look how broken America is. Look what this hate has cost us.

And look at the religious mouthpieces for hate who are becoming more and more emboldened.

Just last week, I posted a meme celebrating the beginning of Pride. It said:

Wishing all the homophobes a SUPER uncomfortable month!

I post it every year and I usually laugh my butt off. It’s too easy to predict all the comments. It’s the same old crap, different mouths, every year.

“Well, that’s not very Christlike.”

“I don't hate anyone! I hate the sin, but I don’t hate the sinner.”

“Ohhhhhh, well who is intolerant now?”

This year, I am truly done laughing. I used to abide this shit, but to be honest, I really can’t do it, anymore. I’ve read and I’ve lived through enough horrible history to understand this terrible truth: Polite hate is the most dangerous kind of hate. It loads the gun, then just backs away quietly.

Christians, please, open your eyes. It’s two thousand and freaking twenty four. I know that you know exactly how this works. You don’t get a pass for good manners.

I won’t let you hide behind pat platitudes when your beliefs give motive to terrorists.

You don’t get to say “it’s the sin that I hate” when that mantra makes bullets for terrorists.

And yah, I guess you could call me intolerant. Smack that sticker on my forehead, I don’t care. For years, I have tolerated far too much from the bigoted backrow Baptists. But the paradox of tolerance states that if a society's practice of tolerance is inclusive of the intolerant…in the end, intolerance will win the day.

And that’s exactly how people die dancing.

So yah, not only do I wish the homophobes reading an incredibly uncomfortable month—I hope this discomfort convicts your soul, and makes you question EVERYTHING. I hope the itch in your spirit spreads to places you can’t bend over to scratch.

I hope enough people walk away from your screeching that you are left alone with your hate. And I hope that hate makes you sick to your stomach when you realize the harm it has caused.

Being gay is not a sin. And Pride is not some party.

It’s a courageous protest that weak minded fearful bigots just can’t comprehend.

It’s authenticity in the face of oppression. Vulnerability in the face of violence.

Pride is the spirit of millions of people who have chosen to dance in the crosshairs.

Growing up in the church, I was frequently told that there are evil forces at work. That these forces were fighting against God’s will, and causing harm to His people. Now, I can see that the threat was true, but it was coming from inside the house.

There are evil, hateful forces at work right now…against the LGBTQ community. Some of those forces look like Saints when they’re hiding behind stained glass.

It’s gonna take a force, equal and opposite in power and passion, to turn the church around. So, if you’re a Christian who has been fence-sitting this issue, it’s time to get off the damn fence.

This June, I beg you to look past the prejudice and the preaching you’ve had crammed down your throat your whole life. Look past your anger, and your pastor’s fear. Look at these beautiful humans. Trying with all their hearts to claim the dignity and love and safety that they, as humans, deserve.

This?

THIS is what you are scared of?

These are the forces of evil?

If that’s what you think then, my friend, you’ve been brainwashed.

I get it. I was brainwashed, too.

But all along, I deep down in my heart, I knew there was something amiss. I couldn’t quite rationalize what I knew of God’s love with the hate I saw coming from church.

For twenty years, I was too afraid to challenge my faith. I thought that it might fall apart.

But that is EXACTLY why I wish all the homophobes a SUPER uncomfortable month. Because I know from painful, hard-earned experience what discomfort can do to change minds.

So, instead of doubling down on your hateful theology…I ask you, non-affirming Christians, in the name of our faith. In the name of God’s love.

Will you please put your weapons down?

Will you consider the lesson that I learned on the street in front of Pulse so many years ago?

Will you feel the heartbeats of your fellow humans, and for once SEE YOURSELF IN THEM?

I beg you to try.

I beg you to grow.

It’s already been far too late.

You can follow Mary Katherine Backstrom on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

A woman is flirting with a gay man at a bar.

A gay man is getting some love for the way he handled a straight woman at a bar who behaved rather entitled towards him. A Reddit user named KineticVibes was out with his friends when he noticed a woman trying to get his attention.

“I (25M) was out with friends last night and we went to a bar. This girl made eye contact with me when I walked in and I smiled at her. Me being a gay man I thought nothing of it,” KineticVibes wrote.

The woman approached him after realizing he wasn’t reacting to her flirtations from across the bar. “About 20 minutes later, the same girl walks up to my friends and me, and it's clear she is very drunk and says to me, ‘Do you want to buy me a drink?’ To which I replied, ‘No, sorry, I'm here just to hang with my friends,’” he continued.


She was clearly taking an aggressive approach by walking up and asking him to buy her a drink. Why didn’t she just ask what he was drinking and buy him a drink instead? She also unintentionally put him in a very uncomfortable spot because he didn’t want to tell her he was gay.

Even though it’s 2024 and people are a lot more accepting of people’s sexuality, you never know when a drunk person in the bar will have a problem with someone being gay and try to start a fight. “I am still not totally comfortable telling any old stranger on first meeting that I'm gay—so this seemed like the best course of action for me,” KineticVibes wrote.

Even though he was polite, the girl kept prodding him.

“She looks rejected and a bit frustrated now behind her glossy eyes and says, ‘A pretty girl wants to drink with you and you say no?’ Now I'm getting frustrated, and I kind of snap and say, ‘Well, I'm gay, so pretty girls don't work on me.’”

“She snarkily laughs and says, ‘Well, if you ever decide to date women, let me know,’ to which I very snappily reply, ‘If you ever decide to become a man, let me know,’” KineticVibes said. The quick-witted response made his friends a bit uncomfortable.

“You could tell it embarrassed her and my friends all kind of got mad at me, saying that I should have patience and be nicer,” he concluded the story.

But did he need to be nicer to the woman? She tried to make eye contact, but he didn’t respond. Then she asked him to buy her a drink, to which he said no, politely. She then doubled down and asked why he wouldn’t buy one for her because she was pretty. Just about everyone in the comments on the story thinks he did the right thing by responding to her snark with a bit of sass. "I would’ve bought you a drink after that. Handling with humor 10/10," A_Bull_Nuts responded.

Others thought the woman acted entitled by demanding a drink and got what she deserved. "If she was a dude, people would call her an incel for behaving like she's entitled to anyone's attention. It's not cute when dudes do it. It's not cute when dudettes do it," NotSoBunny wrote.

"This is what I came here to say... She reeks of entitlement! She put herself out there and got shot down and then doubled down. She may not be a man, but she's got a huge set of balls demanding a stranger pay her way," formiddabble-opponent added.


This article originally appeared on 4.2.24

A Pride Month press photo from BMW.

June is Pride Month in many countries, including the U.S. Canada, Australia, Brazil, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom. It’s an entire month dedicated to uplifting LGBTQ voices and celebrating their culture, history and rights.

It’s also a time of year when anti-LGBTQ voices can be the loudest, as evidenced last year by boycotts of major companies such as Target, Kohls, North Face and Anheuser Busch.

And speaking of major companies, Pride Month also erupts in rainbow colors on social media when major brands and corporations give their logos Pride-themed makeovers. However, this doesn’t sit well with some LGBTQ activists who see this as rainbow washing or disingenuously using Pride branding for their gain or to give themselves a deceptive air of often-derided as "virtue signaling."

In 2024, it also seems rather perfunctory for major companies to celebrate Pride Month, because failure to do so could result in them being accused of bigotry.


It’s commendable when companiesuse their capital and platforms to generously and genuinely support LGBTQ organizations. But there’s something duplicitous about companies that jump on the bandwagon during Pride Month to curry favor with those who support LGBTQ rights and do little more.

One major company is getting called out by liberals and conservatives alike during Pride Month for very different reasons. BMW is taking heat from LGBTQ rights supporters for its public admission that it doesn’t celebrate Pride in the Middle East because of “cultural aspects.” Many right-wing people on Twitter who don’t support Pride Month are enjoying the schadenfreude of seeing a company openly admit to empty virtue signaling.

It all started when someone on Twitter asked why BMW doesn’t turn its logo rainbow-colored for its Middle Eastern Twitter feed during Pride Month. “How come you don't proudly display your logos pride colors on your Middle East posts ???” they asked.

The car company’s response was cold and corporate. “This is an established practice at the BMW Group, which also takes into consideration market-specific legal regulations and country-specific cultural aspects,” BMW’s Twitter account responded.

The response begged a big question: If you don’t support LGBTQ rights in places where they are persecuted, do you really support them at all? In some countries in the Middle East, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, LGBTQ people can be punished by death.

Many accused BMW of hypocrisy for only supporting gay rights where it's good for business.

Many thought that if BMW genuinely cared about LGBTQ rights, it would promote them where it matters most.

Some thought that BMW’s Pride Month logo gesture was rendered meaningless by its approach to the Middle East.

The fact that U.S. companies converted their logos to rainbow-themed during Price Month shows how far this country has come in the last 55 years since the Stonewall Riot kicked off the LGBTQ movement in the U.S. in 1969. However, the fact that companies are afraid to change their logos to rainbow-colored in some parts of the world shows how far we still have to go to guarantee those same rights across the globe.

Tifanie Mayberry and David Frazier discuss their chance encounter.

Usually, when you read a story about people being confronted in a grocery store parking lot, it's bad news. But not this time. Back in November of 2023, Portland, Oregon-based photographer David Frazier had an uplifting experience in the parking lot of a New Seasons market after being approached by a female admirer.

He later told the story on TikTok in a video that received over 3.4 million views.

While making a quick run to the store, Frazier parked next to a woman driving a Tesla. He noticed she was eating, hanging around and “vibing,” so he flashed her a smile and went into the store, where he picked up a bite to eat.


Upon returning to his car, the woman was still there. She rolled down her window and asked Frazier, “Hey, are you single?” Frazier was taken aback by the question and replied: “Sadly, yes, I am. Um, also very gay, though.”

@wowrealneat

Dear New Seasons Parking Lot Girl, you’re so cool and ily ❤️ #fyp #portland #parkinglot #xoxo

He told the woman he was flattered and that asking never hurts. "You're just so handsome," she replied. Frazier returned the compliment, calling her "pretty," and the two shared a laugh and went their separate ways.

But the interaction stuck with Frazier. He thought it took real "guts" to tell a stranger you think they're attractive. He also felt that it was "kind" and "flattering" for her to compliment him. "She seemed like such a genuine and kind and earnest" and "cool" person, he said in the video.

He hoped the TikTok video he made would eventually reach her somehow. “You have uplifted me in a way that I didn’t know I needed, and it made me feel amazing, and I just wanted to say thank you and I hope you have such an incredible weekend,” Frazier told the woman through his post.

He also invited her to get a “friend coffee.”

Five weeks after Frazier posted the video, it successfully reached its intended audience of one. It was seen by Tifanie Mayberry, the woman driving the Tesla. She shared a reaction video where she watched Frazier’s original post. The video received over 11 million views.

@tifaniemayberry

#duet with @David #fyp WOW!! Never expected for this to come back around like this. OMG. The internet is internetting and I LOVE it!!

Mayberry followed the reaction video up with another, explaining that her behavior in the parking lot that day was a perfect example of where she is in life. She’s 35, single and ready to settle down and have kids. If that means she has to be a little forward in approaching men, so be it.

"So what you're witnessing is me just being like no BS and being 'like okay if I see me a good one, I just like to lasso them, and reel 'em in’ and be like 'Hey, I'm interested,' and that's just kind of where I am in life. And apparently, this one got back to me in a very unexpected way,” she said.

Mayberry added that she has yet to speak with Frazier but is looking forward to meeting him. She hopes that one day he’ll even make it to her wedding.

@tifaniemayberry

Well its been a very funny ending to 2023, and I have to say it ended things on such a great note for me 🥹❤️✨ Thanks TikTok!! @David - Coffee in the New Year?!

This article originally appeared on 1.5.24