Commentary: The Times Have Changed, Mr. Knocke

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.

53 Comments
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Marylynn Hibdon
Marylynn Hibdon (@guest_69261)
1 year ago

Thank you for your courage, strength, and for speaking up, very nicely stated!

Genece Minshew
Genece Minshew (@guest_69262)
1 year ago

Thanks for speaking out. Every voice matters.

Linda Mills
Linda Mills (@guest_69287)
1 year ago
Reply to  Genece Minshew

Why can’t people just keep their sexual orientation to themselves I really don’t want to know what goes on in your bedroom
Your parade offends many people because of being so blatant

Robert Warner
Robert Warner (@guest_69296)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Stay home then. An easy solution.

wba
Noble Member
wba(@wba)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Would you want married heterosexual couples to hide their relationships as well? No public weddings, no public displays or acknowledgment of their relationship? No wedding announcements in the newspaper? No mention of a wife in a man’s obituary? No mention of parents in a birth announcement? With your logic, everyone should hide their relationships. It is not just about sexual orientation; it is about identity and one’s place in society. People simply want to celebrate their right to be who they are and not have to hide who they love. Comments like yours are exactly the reason why pride celebrations are still needed.

A2xGator
Active Member
A2xGator(@a2xgator)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

You ever kiss your significant other in public? Just sayin’

Sheila
Sheila(@srcocchi)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Do you think that’s what everyone is thinking when they look at one another? About their sex life? Or is that just where your mind goes?

Kelly
Kelly(@dune5000)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Linda, then don’t tell me about your husband or boyfriend or what you did this weekend because I don’t care. Keep your orientation to yourself. Be real…No one is telling you about what they do in their bedrooms. News flash….that’s in your head so seek help, nut job.

Sherry Siclair
Sherry Siclair (@guest_69442)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Sure, Linda. You do the same. No one wants to hear about your husband or kids, you know, basic things that define you. Be sure to remove any photos of your loved ones from your office space as well. And also..well, you just have to read your own words. If you thought it was ok to think that…then you are unable to progress.

Sandy
Sandy(@tc59)
1 year ago
Reply to  Genece Minshew

Let’s be honest…. Not every voice matters… it appears it’s only the ones that agree with you…

Kathleen O
Kathleen O(@2168whitesands)
1 year ago

Well said, Darlene!

Wes White
Wes White(@wes-white)
1 year ago

“Redneck rally?” “Hillbilly hoedown?” Really?

We don’t need to denigrate people we disagree with. It’s not necessary to demonize others to advance a belief. To both sides of the issue, please stop the clever perjoratives, the cloaked.inuendo, and a call to arms using faith, family, and flag.

Now, where can I find a hillbilly hoedown? I’ve never seen one of those!

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
1 year ago
Reply to  Wes White

Except she said it well. I applaud her honesty

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
1 year ago
Reply to  Wes White

Mr. White, your ability to nitpick and find disagreement with the tiniest items in a person’s post is unparalleled, but it only creates more divisions. Please step back and take a look at the larger message. It is one of love and tolerance.

Sue Almand
Sue Almand (@guest_69273)
1 year ago
Reply to  Wes White

Mr White, then you aren’t getting out much

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
1 year ago
Reply to  Wes White

Then stop others from denigrating ALL members of our City

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
1 year ago

Thank you! Darlene! You said it wonderfully and you took the high road!

Paula Mutzel
Paula Mutzel(@paula-m)
1 year ago

Bravo Darlene!

Chris subleski
Chris subleski(@oldtimehockey)
1 year ago

Pride is still a sin.

wba
Noble Member
wba(@wba)
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris subleski

In the context of the Bible, the term “pride” refers to excessive or arrogant self-centeredness and a sense of superiority that leads to a disregard for others and a refusal to acknowledge one’s own limitations. This form of pride is generally considered a spiritual or moral failing. In the context of the Pride Festival, pride refers to self-respect, dignity, and a sense of accomplishment or belonging within a community. Same word, two different meanings.

Sherry Siclair
Sherry Siclair (@guest_69461)
1 year ago
Reply to  wba

Well said!

Kelly
Kelly(@dune5000)
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris subleski

Is that what your ex-wife says?

Jackie Flash
Jackie Flash (@guest_69272)
1 year ago

You almost had me, but by using terms like “redneck rally” and “hillbilly hoedown”, you’ve proven yourself to be just as prejudicial and hateful as Mr. Knocke.

Tim Walker
Tim Walker (@guest_69275)
1 year ago

Darlene,
your hillbilly and redneck remarks demonstrates your are just another clueless hypocritical left wing dolt. Jack has an opinion and had a right to say it without being demonized personally by the local Lib mob on this blog.

Bonnie Powell
Bonnie Powell (@guest_69276)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Walker

Mr. Walker – I’m assuming from your remarks that you cannot recognize words like “LGBTQ+ Agenda”, “grooming”, “clueless, hypocritical left wing dolt” etc. as demonizing and triggering, or at the very least as a dog whistle to those who seek an excuse to agree with you. Your remarks just might fall into your category of cluelessness, but how fortunate for you that you have the right to express them.

Tim Walker
Tim Walker (@guest_69290)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bonnie Powell

Sorry Bonnie, her remarks were bigoted. “Dog whistle” or no “dog whistle”
What ever that really means.

Sherry Siclair
Sherry Siclair (@guest_69462)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Walker

There’s a reason their beloved trumpy loves the poorly educated.

Darryl
Darryl(@darryl)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sherry Siclair

Wow, you somehow got “trump” in to the conversation lol.

Linda Mills
Linda Mills (@guest_69284)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Walker

Thank you Tim you are so right
and why do we need to know their sexual orientation I mean really isn’t that something you keep private
Maybe we should have a parade for married couples or engaged couples or couples that are boyfriend and girlfriend I think we should

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Go ahead and organize one. Excuse me but heterosexuals have no problem with displays of affection in public or letting the world know their preferences or orientations. This group has been made a target…not a good thing

Bonnie Powell
Bonnie Powell (@guest_69295)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

We have one every day. It’s called traffic.

Dman
Dman(@darryl)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bonnie Powell

lol

wba
Noble Member
wba(@wba)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Would you want married heterosexual couples to hide their relationships as well? No public weddings, no public displays or acknowledgment of their relationship? No wedding announcements in the newspaper? No mention of a wife in a man’s obituary? No mention of parents in a birth announcement? With your logic, everyone should hide their relationships. It is not just about sexual orientation; it is about identity and one’s place in society. People simply want to celebrate their right to be who they are and not have to hide who they love. Comments like yours are exactly the reason why pride celebrations are still needed.

Kelly
Kelly(@dune5000)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

We have that 7 days each week. Kinda boring.

Sherry Siclair
Sherry Siclair (@guest_69463)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Mills

Read the room, Linda. The world is moving on without you. Its called progress. You can learn and live in it or you can stay stuck in stupid.

anonymous
anonymous(@barnes-moore)
1 year ago

It appears that the Observer is committed to being the lead News outlet for the Pride community. While I believe that people have no more choice over their sexual preference than they do their skin color, and that everyone deserves to be treated equally, what I tire of is the constant drone coming from the Pride community that we must constantly bow to their need for love and attention or else be demonized for not being supportive. As for the concerns related to the Pride parade, it does not take much to do a little internet searching to see lewd costumes and performances at Pride parades in a number of cities across the country. It also does not take much to see children exposed to drag shows that are anything but family friendly. These are real concerns and should not be readily dismissed as is so often the case. The organizers of the Pride Parade here have stated that no such behavior will be allowed and hope that they are able to keep that promise.

Linda Mills
Linda Mills (@guest_69285)
1 year ago
Reply to  anonymous

Thank you you are so right

Richard Cain
Richard Cain(@richardcain)
1 year ago
Reply to  anonymous

Anonymous is absolutely correct. Please stop with the endless discussion of this topic. The matter of the parade was settled. We don’t need to read endless articles from everyone with some “new” angle on the same subject. Enough already.

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

Personal letters are welcome

Sherry Siclair
Sherry Siclair (@guest_69464)
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Cain

Then don’t read them. There is a reason for the noise.

Ruth G
Ruth G (@guest_69278)
1 year ago

While I’d agree that the hillbilly and redneck comments were not necessary to prove her point, Darlene’s letter does move me to add the Pride event to my calendar in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Without LGBTQ+ family or close friends, it is too easy to pass such events by. Because I believe in free speech and the value of all people, including those who do not look or feel as I do, it’s time to get off my comfortable WASP couch and say so. I hope others who are in similar situations will do so, too.

Troy Walker
Troy Walker (@guest_69282)
1 year ago

I was under the impression the parade and gathering were settled science. A few last minute bantering,name calling blurbs won’t hurt I guess. Thanks Observer for raising the ire again. When personal struggles are pushed into the public sphere, some are always going to push back, get used to it that’s life.

Barb Gingher
Barb Gingher(@angeldoccie2003yahoo-com)
1 year ago
Reply to  Troy Walker

Every voice matters and Darlene did a great job

Sandy
Sandy(@tc59)
1 year ago
Reply to  Barb Gingher

Of course ‘every voice matters’ that you agree with…. Others just need to sit down and shut up!

Kelly
Kelly(@dune5000)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sandy

You first, please.

A2xGator
Active Member
A2xGator(@a2xgator)
1 year ago

Well said. A few observations, if I may. Procreation by heterosexuals creates non-heterosexuals. Groomers? How abiut the tens of thousands of little girls sexualized at age 4+ in “Beauty Contests” so they can grow up and br groped like “contestants” in Miss Universe? Where are the protests against that form of child abuse? Anecdotally, the people who subject their children to that form of abuse are not “Left-wing” (whatever that means anymore).

Sandy
Sandy(@tc59)
1 year ago

This paper is seriously one sided, irritating and becoming more irrelevant by the article…

Kelly
Kelly(@dune5000)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sandy

This article is the opinion of the writer only, not the paper. That’s how “commentary” works.

TABBY
TABBY (@guest_69310)
1 year ago

Dear Lord people, have some humanity and sense of compassion. Why isit assumed there is grooming by the LBGTQ+ community? I was raped by my brother at the age of 16 and by a boss at the age of 28. Both heterosexual… how’s that for grooming?

Kelly
Kelly(@dune5000)
1 year ago
Reply to  TABBY

I am so sorry.

Peg Weeks
Peg Weeks(@pegweeksgmail-com)
1 year ago

Thank you, Darlene, for your courage to speak up on behalf of the Pride community. Pride and Pride events exist to demonstrate support for a population that continues to be vilified. The youth of our community who identify as LGBTQ are grateful for the kindness and compassion shown to them by Pride, and I suspect this love and support helps to instill self-esteem and, yes, Pride in them. I am an ally and always will be!

Guest
Guest (@guest_69316)
1 year ago

Powerful article you’ve written here! I wish I could have been there for you when you were young. All you needed were people who were comfortable enough with themselves (pretty much fearless) to understand that being “different” does NOT mean abnormal. You’ve turned into a big city sleeking gal now so I guess you have figured this out already, but please let me remind you that no matter who you are or where you go… whether it’s the beach, a park, downtown, church, City Hall, etc., you are just as special and important as the next person! When people try to silence you or threaten your right to exercise your Constitutional rights, it has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. Stay strong, my friend. Cheers!

Kelly
Kelly(@dune5000)
1 year ago

Most hillbilly and redneck types are happy to refer to themselves by those words. Stop acting offended by Darlene’s statement.