Cobleskill marks Pride Month

Cobleskill marks Pride Month
By Jim Poole

As a village, Cobleskill is a welcoming place for all, no matter the sexual orientation, gender identity, race or any other characteristic. That was the gist of Mayor Linda Holmes’ proclamation last Tuesday designating June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, and triggered several days of battles between gay rights activists and patrolmen. Though Cobleskill is far in time and distance from the Stonewall riots, Mayor Holmes wants the village to be all-inclusive. Therefore, the proclamation. For those who don’t know––and there may be more than a few––LGBTQ+ signifies, according to a recent New York Times column: L, lesbian G, gay B, bisexual T, transgender Q, questioning sexual identity. +, anything on the gender spectrum words can’t describe. Mayor Holmes didn’t get into those definitions, instead reading her proclamation that “all people regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, marital status, national origin or physical challenges have the right to be treated fairly on the basis of their intrinsic value as human beings. . .” And that Cobleskill “welcomes people of diverse backgrounds and believes a diverse population leads to a more vibrant community. . .” The proclamation also bowed to the likelihood that not all may be on board with Pride Month, noting the need “for education and awareness. . .to end discrimination and prejudice.” Mayor Holmes presented the proclamation to Richmondville resident Vern Hall. Mr. Hall wasn’t at the Stonewall riots, but he was the co-coordinator for Upstate New York for the 10-year anniversary march on Washington in 1979. “We wanted equal treatment under the law,” Mr. Hall said, recounting the riots and subsequent events. He and his partner moved to Richmondville around the time of the march and decided to live together “out of the closet”––what many may consider a bold move in 1979-80. “We wanted to live our years in the community out and in the open,” Mr. Hall said after Tuesday’s meeting. “Overall, it’s been rather positive. There’s been some negativity. It’s been rare and not overt.” And while there may be a ways to go, Mr. Hall is generally pleased with the public’s reaction. “Over three generations, things have changed,” he said. “We have to change minds on a very personal level.”

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