The Modesto straight pride rally that went on despite the group failing to secure a parade permit fizzled in spectacular fashion this past weekend, with counter-protesters considerably outnumbering attendees.
The straight pride rally began at Durrer Barn, on Saturday, a popular event space just outside Modesto. It was shutdown when the owner discovered what the space was being used for, as well as that it was being livestreamed on social media, leading to the possibility of protesters showing up to counter it.
“This whole thing was presented to me as a little meeting, and I had no idea it was going to end up like this,” Leo Durrer, one of the owners, told The Modesto Bee. “I trusted these people wholeheartedly because I did not think they had a mean bone in them. Maybe it’s a really good lesson for me to check things out better in the future.”
While the straight pride attendees were at the barn, LGBTQ community members and allies held a pro-diversity event at Enslen Park, drawing approximately 250 people. A vigil also celebrating diversity held the night before at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church drew around the same number of individuals.
After the event at Durrer Barn was put to an abrupt end, about 20 straight pride demonstrators relocated outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, which was closed at the time, holding signs with pro-Trump, anti-choice, and anti-immigrant sentiments. There were around 180 counter-demonstrators, according to police, who held Pride flags and anti-racist signage, played musical instruments, and chanted slogans like, “All love, no hate, make America great!” to drown out the straight pride attendees.
Police thanked everyone who came out for remaining peaceful, noting there were “no major incidents” reported.
According to the National Straight Pride Coalition, headed up by Don Grundmann, who organized the straight pride event, it exists in part to protect heterosexuality, the nuclear family, babies, Caucasians, Christianity, and nationalism. Its website claims these groups and ideals are “under unprecedented, sustained, and coordinated attack within our society, culture, and nation.”
“For every step someone takes to come and divide our community, spread hatred, spread bigotry, this many people are standing on guard to make sure it doesn’t happen with thousands more,” said Modesto Councilman Mani Grewal, speaking at Enslen Park.
Another straight pride event is set to take place in Boston on August 31, organized by a separate group.