The Charlotte Observer’s coverage of the August 27th gay pride event, Pride Charlotte, held this year in the heart of Charlotte’s business district, was marked by significant omissions and misrepresentations, along with some (surely unintended) irony.
First, the irony. There were two articles related to Pride Charlotte, the primary article noting that, “Saturday's event was the first to be held in such a prominent area, a move organizers said was made to promote acceptance.” This push to promote acceptance was confirmed by Pride Charlotte spokesman Matt Comer: “We are just as valid a community group as any other.” Ironically, these two comments immediately followed these lines: “At the Wells Fargo Plaza, drag queens lip-synced to pop music for a cheering crowd. One in a hot pink wig and matching knee-high boots danced to Katy Perry's ‘California Girls.’” Say what?
How many other community groups feature prominent performances by drag queens at their events? Can you imagine crowds at an Hispanic Pride event, or Black Pride event, or Asian Pride event – just to name a few – being entertained by men wearing dresses (or less), with hot pink wigs and matching knee-high boots? And this is part of the LGBT strategy “to promote acceptance”? And how telling that, unmentioned by the Observer, there was a large truck stationed next to the festival offering “Free HIV Testing.” Yes, just another, typical, community event.
But the Observer’s reporting not only highlighted the irony of the day. It also presented a very misleading picture. The main article noted that, “several people holding Bibles and wearing shirts that said ‘Repent or Perish’ stood at intersections and shouted scripture to those passing by. A few festivalgoers stopped to argue with them, but most walked by as the preachers' shouts were drowned out by music.” This was true, but there was another side to the story, left out entirely by the Observer.
There were other Christians at Pride Charlotte too, and they were really quite hard to miss. I’m speaking of the participants of the God Has a Better Way outreach rally which drew together more than 400 evangelical Christians from numerous local churches, all wearing red-shirts emblazoned with the “God Has a Better Way” message.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.