LAFAYETTE, La. — Another unsuccessful attempt for members of the LGBTQ community to get the Lafayette city government to acknowledge Pride Month.
Tuesday night, demonstrators with PFLAG are gathered at the Lafayette Consolidated Government Building, calling on Mayor-President Josh Guillory to declare June Pride Month.
This month-long celebration of queerness, and reflection on the fight for equality, started today in most parts of the United States.
Seven people spoke today, and Mayor-President Josh Guillory responded saying, his administration is not discriminatory. People that took the podium tonight to voice their opinions were disappointed, but not surprised at Guillory’s lack of action to acknowledge Pride month in Lafayette.
Matthew Humphrey, who’s proudly gay and the president of PFLAG, says it doesn’t surprise him that Guillory didn’t act today.
Guillory did not approve or deny the proclamation today, and he still claims his administration is not being homophobic.
“I believe we were born with a gender; we were born with a skin color and we were born with certain attributes that we have no control over and I believe sexual orientation is one of them,” said Guillory. “And this government under my administration will not discriminate against anybody based on their sexual orientation."
Some of the people that spoke out say they'd feel safer in this city if Pride month was recognized.
“I came into the military at a time where it wasn’t okay to be me,” explained K’Shawn Coleman. “So, I had to find a group of people that I can be safe around. And, when I came in this room, I didn’t feel safe with you guys, I feel safe in that corner back there, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
With 29 days left in June, they are hoping that Guillory will change his mind and sign the proclamation – but they’re not counting on it.
“Josh not making a proclamation doesn't make anybody less gay,” said Humphrey. “It doesn't make June any less Pride month. It is Pride month; we would just like for our administration to recognize it.”
Other people say the lack thereof acknowledgment is archaic.
“We have a very large LGBTQ community here, and it’s Pride month, whether Lafayette recognizes it or not,” said Katherine Hurtz, an attorney in Lafayette. “We need to get into this century before it’s over.”
Although Guillory hesitates to sign this proclamation for the LGBTQ community, he has signed 27 since last June for other groups, organizations, and causes, according to a PFLAG letter sent to the administration.
During previous years, Guillory has said he wasn't going to sign such a proclamation, saying he didn't think it was a function of government.
KATC's Victor Jorges was at City Hall, where PFLAG members say they are simply tired of being left out.
He spoke with some demonstrators, who say that Guillory not signing a Pride Month proclamation is hypocritical. They also say a lot of officials will say being gay is an abomination. But, according to them, the Bible also says you shouldn't eat crawfish and to love your neighbor.
People there say city leaders shouldn't be allowed to pick and choose what's a sin and what's not, or what minority they want to support or not. One woman told us there should be a focus on queer youth.
"I think it's a disgrace and I think that Lafayette is living basically way back in the day. Things have changed, the world is evolving, we need to really focus a lot on our youth who are members of the LGBTQ community," said Tara Fogelman.
PFLAG leaders are hoping to cause some change in the community by having people speak during public comments at Tuesday night's council meetings. They are hopeful that having a lot of people advocate for their cause will make a difference.
KATC will have more tonight at 6 and 10.
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