Concerning the covering of the Pride flag and subsequent brouhaha at Gardiner Area High School, John Benoit’s opinion in the Sunday paper has it wrong. If the word “bully” fits then its use is appropriate and no apology is required. I don’t think “bully” is a hurtful word when used in the correct context. I can think of a lot more hurtful words used against the LGBTQ+ community.

Also, I am not a Pride practitioner. I am an anti-fascist human being. Why do otherwise good people think that denigrating and denying equal rights for LGBTQ+ citizens is not bullying? Straight people have 365 days of pride, yet 8% of the year and one day for the parade are used to celebrate standing up for one’s identity. Many don’t like it and that’s OK. It’s a free country.

When you have been bullied like I have (right here in central Maine), you will understand what “coming out” and “Pride” are all about. I have tolerated physical, mental, and economic abuse for 68 years. I’ve had rocks bounced off my head. I’ve had rotten food thrown in my face. I’ve been called every disgusting name in the book and humiliated in front of others. I’ve been denied the simple dignity of walking down a high school hallway. How do you think that type of behavior affects the mind and pride of a young person in high school?

One little colorful flag is covered up by bullies and it’s OK with many. Sometimes I think not much has changed.

Daryl S. Shaw

Retired Senior Structural Designer and CAD Manager


Class of 1973 – Hall-Dale High School

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