OMAHA, NE – It seems in a land of free speech and Democracy, some of us aren’t welcome to share our views when they oppose those of Omaha’s new Mayoral administration and their HeartLand Pride followers. HeartLand Pride President, Beth Rigatuso, said in a one-sided KETV interview Friday evening, “It’s disrespectful, absolutely disrespectful…” when the interviewer remarked what a negative message protesters could bring against Jean Stothert speaking at HeartLand Pride. What is really unfortunate is Rigatuso making it about herself, when its really about Jean Stothert and her policies and rhetoric. I think anyone who objects to Jean Stothert’s presence at Pride truly understands what this Pride is all about. Pride started out to remember the Stonewall Riots. Its also about celebrating the gains we made. Its also about holding politicians who opposed us accountable. If a politician can just ride into Pride after spending the past year working against us, what is the point to having pride? Ms Rigatuso’s mere notion that we must all agree with her just oozes a very Stothert like mentality that reflects the Stothert administration recent subjection to a gag order. To cap off a disappointing Friday evening with Beth Rigatuso, she made comments stating those who oppose Stothert are as bad as Westboro Baptist Church members. Very disappointing. The actuality in the LGBT Community is that it doesn’t have leaders, and hasn’t had leaders, just people like Rigatuso who loudly claim the mantle and then expect everyone else to follow, no dissent allowed.
It doesn’t even stop there, later Friday evening, Rigatuso stood on her soapbox and gave a 15 minute speech about how those who have a problem with Stothert are disrespectful and compared them to the Westboro Baptist Church. Joseph Luff, (aka Jewels) a Pride attendee had this to say, “I was there as she said those who were opposed to Pride having the mayor, and were planning on picketing were no better then the bullies that drive r teens to suicide and were no better then the Westboro Baptist Church. I, for one, plan on being at the Pride meeting next month were I will inform them that I will not raise a nickel for them or will give them a nickel and will use my influence in the community to make there fund raising very difficult. I can see the reason why she invite the mayor they’re alot alike in that neither like dissent against their iron-fisted rule.” Perhaps we should all follow his example.
To add insult to injury, Heartland Pride held their Harvey Milk vigil Thursday evening. It was a vigil about a Jewish gay activist where no one mentioned his name or his life or even the fact he was Jewish. They were too busy displaying how Christian they all are, and pushing an ironic religious agenda. What about the 48% of non-christian LGBT people? Unfortunate that a good chunk of the LGBT Community wasn’t represented at their own Pride celebration. The Aksarbent Blog covers this story well.