NY State Fair “Pride Day” Seen as Controversial to Some; Celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
August 21, 2015
by Nia Hamm
ALBANY, N.Y. – A celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride kicks off for the first time at New York’s state fair next week.
Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared Aug. 28 as the fair’s official Pride Day earlier this year, reactions have been mixed. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom spokesman Stephen Hayford said his group believes same-sex rights are a partisan political issue that should be kept separate from the fair.
“In terms of LGBT issues, this is something that doesn’t belong here, in the sense that the fair isn’t supposed to be about a social or political agenda for anybody,” he said. “And we object to a controversial social agenda being brought in here, in this way.”
Fair organizers say “Pride Day” is an effort to create a more diverse event reflecting all New Yorkers, including the LGBT community, which has informally gathered on Aug. 28 for years. The Great New York State Fair runs from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7 and features other special days, including Law Enforcement Day, Women’s Day and Governor’s Day.
Acting fair director Troy Waffner said Pride Day isn’t about politics, but about creating a more diverse atmosphere for all fairgoers, including members of the LGBT community.
“Some of the history of this is that first Friday has always been an unofficial Pride Day,” he said. “What we’re doing is taking an unofficial day and making it an official day. And hard as it may be for some conservatives to believe, they were actually on the fairgrounds – if they were on that Friday – with people who may have been part of – you know, a member of – the LGBT community.”
Waffner said Pride Day will kick off with the raising of the rainbow flag, followed by a ceremony.
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