Letter to the Editor — Why Clayton Pride Parade Matters

CLAYTON, CA (May 29, 2023) — Back in 2021, knowing nothing about this inner-East Bay community, my LGBTQQIA+ family decided to make Clayton our new home.

Any doubts we had about being a family comprised of two dads and one adopted son (now two adopted sons) and three rescue dogs were allayed when we drove in and saw a house on the corner of Center and Easley Drive flying a Pride flag.

We then found a YouTube 2020 video “The Pride of Clayton” that documented the City Council’s declaration of June as Pride Month by flying the Pride Flag at all the public flag poles in the city. The video shared the voices of youth and community members on the significance of the Pride flag and the need to create a safe space for Clayton’s LGBTQQIA+ youth and residents.

This is Clayton Pride Parade’s second year organizing the Pride Parade, and I am in awe of all the community members, volunteers, and sponsors of Clayton Pride. Our downtown restaurants have created Pride theme drinks and menu items and some have even offered to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Clayton Pride Parade committee. In particular, Judith Green-Schreiber, owner and chef of the Groveside Bistro, is donating a portion of her Pride theme menu for multiple days. Pat Pannell, owner of Chick-Boss, created all the beautiful rainbow balloons arches.

Tampa, Florida, and other cities have decided to cancel their thriving Pride celebrations in light of national anti-LGBTQQIA+ sentiments as seen in anti-Drag Story Hours, anti-gay bills, and banning books with LGBTQQIA+ themes, all the while making it easier to own concealed guns. Similarly, Target took down Pride displays due to threats against its employees.

As a gay person, the anti-LGBTQQIA+ sentiments concern me. At the same time, I feel hope and I am inspired by the work of my fellow Clayton Pride Parade organizers, that progress is possible. Our work to cultivate compassion and kindness for all residents, especially our LGBTQQIA+ youth who may be quietly struggling alone, is thus more important. Even though we are a small city with a small population, Clayton Pride’s work will have a big life-saving impact.

Jonathan Lee, PhD
Clayton Resident

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