A reader writes:
Am I the only gay person who's on the side of not taking kids to gay pride? Let's be honest here - it's not the most family-friendly environment. Most gay pride events involve a hyper-sexualized parade and a hyper-commercialized fair. Maybe I'm just a prudish American, but it's a party for adults, not children. It's not Folsom Street, but it's not Sesame Street either.
Want your kids to be exposed to homosexuality as a normal thing? Spend time with gay people you know and bring your kids along. Our friends' young children spend a lot of time around us. They were the ring bearers at our wedding. They absolutely adore us (and we them!) and completely understand the concept of what we are.
I think there's a high level of defensiveness that arises any time someone says they wouldn't want their children around gay people. Granted, Paladino's statement came in a more deplorable context of general homophobia, but I think it's possible to simultaneously be supportive of homosexuality and be opposed to taking kids to gay pride.
I tend to agree. Gay pride events are far, far tamer than they once were (and not the caricature that Paladino presents). I favor freedom for everyone to express themselves at such events, even in bad taste. There are, moreover, many other public gay events that are totally family-friendly, like last year's Equality March. But there's a part of gay pride history that really is a kind of Mardi Gras, with all the adult sexuality that implies, and many wouldn't take kids to that either.
In the end, this is for parents to decide for themselves, not me. But I sure wouldn't criticize a parent who decided to keep it an adult affair. And I sure don't think it's inherently homophobic.