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Organizers aren’t being straight up about their straight pride parade.
That’s the belief of gay advocates and local elected officials who have tried, to no avail, to set up a meeting with the reggae album promoters who announced last week that they were planning a pro-hetero march down Eastern Parkway to coincide with this year’s Caribbean Day festivities.
According to the announcement made last week, the march is set for August 31, the day before the West Indian Day parade.
Organizers, members of the record label TCOOO (Taking Care Of Our Own), explained that the Straight Pride Parade was in response to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups lashing out against their album “18 Karat Reggae 2008: Global Warming.”
The album has a song entitled “Hit Them Hard,” which encourages violence against homosexuals, gay advocates said.
But TCOOO hasn’t said a peep about the parade since they first announced it, claiming that it would be “family oriented.”
“The Straight Pride Parade is a chance for heterosexuals to gather together and proudly embrace their sexuality,” according to TCOOO in their initial address. “Adults are encouraged to bring their children along for the celebrations, as the event will be family oriented.”
Members of LGBT groups, who celebrate Gay Pride each June, said that they have no problem with the concept of Straight Pride, as long as the marchers don’t promote violence towards their community.
“With the help of the Borough President’s office, we’re trying to set up a meeting with the record producers, but they haven’t replied,” said Terrance Knox, co-president of Lambda Independent Democrats, the borough’s leading LGBT political club. “Right now we don’t know if it's even going to happen, but we want to make sure that it isn’t going to spoil the good name of the West Indian Day Parade.”
Knox said that several Crown Heights leaders, including Assembly member Karim Camara, are already on board to “stand up and speak out” against the straight pride march.
Their concerns were echoed by City Councilman Bill de Blasio, who said he, too, was “deeply troubled” by the parade’s main message.
“Participants will march to advocate for violence against gay men,” de Blasio said. “Diversity of background, culture, and lifestyle are all part of what makes Brooklyn great, and we must not tolerate support for violence against anyone in our community.”
“It is especially disturbing that this parade is planned to occur on Carnival Day, when many Caribbean-Americans will be celebrating their heritage in Brooklyn,” he added.
Calls to the West Indian Day Parade Committee for comment about the straight pride march were not returned.
It was still unclear if TCOOO had gotten a permit for their parade, as well as a sound permit from the NYPD.
Attempts to reach TCOOO for comment were not successful as of press time.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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