By Darlene Drury
FBHS class of 1974
I was born and raised a Fernandinian. When I was growing up, I had no role models. I always felt alone and ashamed because I knew I was different.
In an effort to not embarrass my numerous family members on the island, I left as soon as I could to start what I was told by people, by the media and by the world at large, would be a lonely existence lived in the shadows.
Well, guess what? My life in a large city, with many of my own kind, has given me a rich and fulfilling life in full view of the world. The current generation of LGBTQ+ youth have more advantages than I did, and perhaps this will allow them to stay in a town they love, near family and childhood friends that love them.
I am perplexed by the efforts of Citizens Defending Freedom–Nassau to prevent the Fernandina Pride celebration from using a public park. Mr. Jack Knocke says he is trying to protect children from “adult content.”
Mr. Knocke, how about you just stay away from the park on that particular day? It is public space, and the LGBTQ+ community is part of the law-abiding and tax-paying public.
If you and your group wanted to have a redneck rally or hillbilly hoedown in the park, I would be sure to put it on my calendar and avoid the area on that day. But I would never try to prevent such a gathering because I believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights — especially those pesky freedom of speech and freedom of peaceable assembly parts.
If you wish to protect your children from “adult content,” perhaps you should throw away your computer and all the cell phones in your house. Or work toward a more worthy cause like curbing gun violence if you want to really protect children.
I appreciate the opportunity to have my opinion heard. Happy Pride, everyone — even Mr. Knocke.