By RJ Johnson

I dream of the day when we can celebrate without worrying about protestors. Today is not yet that day. We are still dealing with hate around every corner. Emboldened by a President who refers to alt-right maniacs as “good people” the haters will be out in full force around the country for Pride Month, even here in Alaska. We know the usual suspects, but there may be more that we have not heard of.

There are two groups that have formed within the past year that will both be present at Pride in order to combat the hate. Queen’s Guard has been well documented in Prism and is planning to be at several of the events that will be happening this month. The concept of the group is simple: When people show up to shout hate and lies, and to use fear as a tactic, the Queen’s Guard responds with love — singing songs, wearing bright colors, and ignoring the protestors. Never confronting or engaging, just being the exact opposite of what David Grisham and Last Frontier Evangelism-Repent Alaska, stand for.

The next group is one that has formed, inspired by several other groups just like it that have made headlines around the country. Mom Hugs has made appearances at a couple of events locally and plans to be at Pridefest. Again, the concept is simple. Give people a hug that need one. Often the LGBTQIA+ community does not have the greatest family support. This group aims to help heal some of that hurt, and let folks know that they are loved.

Both groups combat ignorance and hate by creating the opposite of what they are doing. When we are met with this negative behavior our only option is to be the opposite. Yes, the haters will be protesting the parade. If you happen to be in that parade, greet them with a smile and keep cheering, laughing and singing. If you see the Queen’s Guard stand with them and sing a song. If you see the Mom’s giving hugs, get one.

Here is another concept to consider. Maybe we don’t all have to be in the parade. Part of the reason that the haters sound so loud is because there is nobody from our side left on the sidewalks to drown them out with cheers and love. As amazing as Daphne DoAll LaChores is at announcing the parade, that is not where the haters will be. If you want to be an ally, go be louder than the hate. The opposite of love is indifference. Be the difference this year.

Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Evil

1 Don’t pay attention to them. They are there to get attention from you and ruin your day. Why would you give them want they want?

2 Do not debate theological matters with them. They aren’t going to listen to you. Even if you are correct, you will not win.

3 Don’t try and get close to them. While most protestors at our Pride are harmless, we never know if there will be a loose cannon.

4 Don’t yell back at them. Basically, this means angrier sounds, and that again ruins everyone’s good time. When people are yelling angrily, it does not matter what the words are, it’s still anger.

5 If you find yourself in a situation that you cannot get out of, if someone is in your face, if you are cornered, use the most magic words that we have in 2019. “I DO NOT CONSENT. PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE” as loud as you can. The word consent is powerful and will get attention.

6 Don’t allow them to dominate your conversations for the rest of your day. Yes, you will need time and a safe space to process it. Yes, you can be hurt and angry. Take that time, then get back to the party.

7 Remember, you won’t win any discussion you try to have with them. Don’t have one. Don’t point out the flaws in their reasoning. They are protesting happiness and love. They are obviously not sane.

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