MODESTO — Organizers are planning a “straight pride” rally to be held in a Modesto park but there is a growing group of people trying to stop that gathering from happening, including the gay son of one of those organizers.
“This isn’t ‘straight pride.’ This is hate pride,” said Matthew Mason.
Mason, who identifies as a gay man, said he is angry about the “straight pride” rally planned in his community for Aug. 24.
The event in Graceada Park is being co-organized by his own adoptive mother.
“This is the woman who raised me actively working against my rights as a human being, who I am as a person,” Mason told FOX40.
He said the event put on by the National Straight Pride Coalition is more than just a celebration of heterosexuals, the 28-year-old worries it’s a platform to divide and incite violence.
“Dog whistling to white supremacy, that is immediately inciting violence,” he said. “I am afraid of violence happening. I don’t want anyone in my community to be hurt.”
On the coalition’s website, the group claims to be protecting the “God ordained natural nuclear family,” Christian values and the contributions of Western civilization on American society.
“It is again white Caucasians who did come to this country to start liberty and gave us the greatest Constitution in the world,” said Mason’s mother, Mylinda.
Mylinda Mason said the rally is meant to be a peaceful gathering that actually brings people together.
“They’re looking to amp it up into something that it’s not,” she said. “It’s really going to be much more like on the purview of a church service really. It really is just celebrating our beautiful country.”
She said everyone is welcome to attend, even members of the LGBTQ community, adding “the intolerance doesn’t come from [their] side.”
But for her son, he said talk of the event itself is causing a lot of people pain and anguish, and a rally like this doesn’t belong in his hometown.
“This is not a positive message and this community is committed to positivity, to love, to inclusion and to diversity. And this message is none of that,” Matthew Mason said.
Matthew Mason is planning to speak before the Modesto City Council this Wednesday and said he will ask members to deny the “straight pride group” a permit to assemble.
His birth mother happens to serve as a city council member.
Meanwhile, Mylinda Mason and her fellow organizers said they do not plan to attend the meeting but are hopeful that their permit will not be denied.