July 06, 2016

Pride parade pros and cons

By Hendrik van der Breggen
The Carillon, July 7, 2016

Pride parade pros and cons

Let's look at some pros (reasons in favour) and cons (reasons against) concerning Steinbach's upcoming gay pride parade.

[Note to readers outside of Canada: Steinbach, Manitoba, is the small rural community in which I live. Steinbach is having its first Gay Pride Parade on July 9th and is garnering national media attention becausegaspnot everyone favours the parade.]

First, though (as a relevant aside), I must comment on some recent reporting by CBC News. CBC News visited Steinbach apparently to cover our community's views concerning the parade.

Four people were interviewed. Three pro. One con. But notice this: the one disagreeing voice was an elderly woman who suffers from dementia. After complaints about exploiting the vulnerable, CBC revised its story to drop the contesting voice. This left three pro voices.

Contrary to CBC's biased report, pros and cons should be considered, not just pros.

On the pro side: Gay pride parades attempt to show love and respect to persons who identify as LGBTQ, plus challenge unfair discrimination and bullying.

Another pro/ “pro is the celebration of—being proud of and affirming—the (assumed/ alleged) truth and goodness of the various gender identities and expressions thereof: homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender, etc. This is to favour LGBTQ as an ideology (a set of ideas and ideals, a belief system).

Many stop here and expect citizens and government officials to support gay pride.

But there are counter-considerations, too.

First, a clarification: One can favour non-discrimination (where discrimination is understood in the unjust sense), non-bullying, love, freedom, equality, respect for all, and—at the same time—not agree with the celebration of LGBTQ as an ideology. Disagreement doesn't equal hate.

Okay, what are some cons/ counter-considerations concerning gay pride parades?

Con 1. Many persons hold moral beliefs that limit the appropriate expression of sexual intimacy to one man and one woman in marriage. These persons hold such beliefs not only as true but also near/ within the core of their personal or religious identity.

In a pluralist society that values diversity such beliefs are legitimate to hold. So, in so far as a pride parade celebrates or affirms behaviour one thinks immoral, to that extent the moral/ religious belief (whether opponents agree or not) is a legitimate reason against such parades—or at least for not attending or supporting or endorsing.

(Note: Such opinions might make some LGBTQ persons “feel oppressed, as pride parade organizer Michelle McHale suggests in the above-mentioned CBC report. But, equally, so might others “feel oppressed by the increasingly aggressive, government-backed LGBTQ ideology that contradicts their moral/ religious identity.)

Con 2. There are non-religious, public health reasons for questioning the wisdom of celebrating and encouraging sexual expression outside the one-man-one-woman-united-in-marriage paradigm for sexual intimacy.

Physician Miriam Grossman: Compared to the general heterosexual population, persons who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual report “more high risk sexual behaviors, higher rates of infection with HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea, and more mental health problems [anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts].”

Significantly, Grossman adds, these disparities also occur in more accepting, gay-friendly societies (e.g., The Netherlands), so can't be blamed wholly on cultural attitudes.

Con 3. LGBTQ ideology typically encourages redefining marriage from (a) the union of a man and woman who can (at least in principle) reproduce sexually via their union and nurture their biological children to (b) a union of, say, two adults regardless of sexual noncomplementarity.

However, according to researcher RyanT. Anderson, reliable studies from social sciences strongly suggest parenting by married biological parents—i.e., biological mother and biological father—is ideal for well-being of children. The redefinition of marriage (along with divorce and single parenting) takes society another step away from this ideal.

Con 4. Stepping away from sexual complementarity also increases demand for reproductive technology.

In Vitro Fertilization may become normalized and its problems exacerbated. (IVF creates leftover frozen human embryos, i.e., human beings; often requires “selective termination, i.e., abortion of unwanted implantations/ fetuses; exploits women as surrogates and egg suppliers; threatens to turn children into commodities, abolishing their biologically-based moral right to know and be raised by both biological parents. For further reading on IVF, look here.) 

CBC notwithstanding, then, Steinbach's gay pride parade has pros and cons.

I encourage further thinking and truth-seeking, plus gentleness and respect for all.


Note to critics: Before commenting, please read my (relevant) previous work, the criticisms from my previous critics, plus my replies to my critics.  Look here, for starters: Is promoting same-sex sex wise? 

(Hendrik van der Breggen, PhD, is associate professor of philosophy at Providence University College. The views expressed in this column do not always reflect the views of Providence.)

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