MODESTO — Despite 100-degree heat, a small room inside Modesto’s Pride Center was packed with people Wednesday.
The local LGBTQ community was preparing for what they view as an attack on their identity. A “straight pride parade” is in the works for Modesto and planned for late August.
“If they were there and they just want to celebrate the fact that they’re straight and didn’t have any type of hate going on with this protest, I’d be all for them doing it,” said Modesto resident Joey Aguilar. “This is not what it is.”
As a gay man, Aguilar said the Straight Pride Parade Coalition, the group behind the planned parade, is threatening.
He expects the event to draw white supremacist crowds, who view him and his community as less than human and evil.
According to the event organizer, Aguilar may not be far off.
Don Grundmann is the straight pride parade’s founder. He said his group is not a hate group, they support life.
However, they do say homosexuals are immoral. Grundmann called homosexuality a “death culture.”
“Because no culture has ever been built on homosexuality,” Grundmann said.
According to their website, the group promotes the “superiority of the following foundational principles,” which include Western civilization, whiteness, Christianity and nationalism, among others.
“Our motto of our organization is normal, natural, healthy and sane, which our opponents are the opposite of all those,” Grundmann told FOX40 over the phone.
By opponents, Grundmann meant the LGBTQ community.
“There is a big concern for that coming to our community,” said Joe Sisemore, the president of the nonprofit MoPRIDE.
That concern is also felt by the city of Modesto.
City spokesman Thomas Reeves said as a whole, city officials do not approve of the straight pride parade’s messaging but by the First Amendment must approve of their right to rally.
“Certainly, by approving an event it’s not an indication of sponsorship or an endorsement by any means,” Reeves said.
Community leaders are now preparing to combat the parade with love and hope a clash of ideas does not become a clash of violence.
The city is expected to make a final call on permitting the parade by the end of the week.
Privately one city official told FOX40 they are not happy about it. They are having lawyers look at any way they might be able to deny the group a permit legally without violating First Amendment rights.