As this year’s Erie, Pennsylvania, Pride festivities were winding down on the western side of the city’s Perry Square Park and organizers began packing up their row of neat pink tents, 20-year-old Chloe Reuther was peacefully going toe-to-toe with a small group of religious demonstrators.
The demonstrators, unhappy with the celebration’s presence in the city’s main square, had been trolling along the perimeter of the event all afternoon, first with a megaphone, then with a sign emblazoned with the ominous message “repentance or else.”
On the whole, it was a civil exchange, with Chloe calmly, eloquently and effectively countering each argument the demonstrators made with calls for understanding, open-mindedness and acceptance.
The LGBTQ communities are a tight, close-knit, open and visible group in a city where standing out can be a challenge. It isn’t necessarily a hostile environment — the protesters were, after all, heavily outnumbered — but it’s one in which occasions for coming together and finding common ground can be few and far between. Read more