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Straight Pride organizer claims to rep ‘peaceful racist group’; U.S. city denies permit

Click to play video: '‘Straight Pride Parade’ planners meeting backlash in California community' ‘Straight Pride Parade’ planners meeting backlash in California community
Plans for a straight pride event in Modesto, CA are causing controversy. Organizers said its freedom of speech, but LGBTQ activists said it spreads hate that goes beyond sexual orientation – Aug 8, 2019

The city council in Modesto, Calif. denied a permit Friday to organizers of a Straight Pride Parade after the event’s organizer stood before them and said he represents a “totally peaceful racist group.”

Don Grundmann drew heavy laughter at a Wednesday council meeting from at least one council member and people sitting in the public gallery, the Modesto Bee reported.

“We haven’t done anything, we’re a totally peaceful racist group,” Grundmann said as people blew up laughing.

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Grundmann, who was speaking on behalf of the Straight Pride Coalition, had been looking to put on the parade at Modesto’s Graceada Park for Aug. 24, NBC News reported.

READ MORE: Straight Pride is an ‘attack’ on the LGBTQ2 community, experts say

The event was to express a “very specific view of Christianity and its cultural foundations,” he told the network.

At the meeting, Grundmann accused council member Kristi Ah You of “pulling the race card” and “attacking us as racists” as he sought the permit.

Ah You reportedly called the event “hateful, harmful, insincere and dangerous” on Facebook, according to the Modesto Bee.

WATCH: Oct. 23, 2018 — Village of Chipman facing increasing backlash for ‘straight-pride’ flag

Click to play video: 'Village of Chipman facing increasing backlash for ‘straight-pride’ flag' Village of Chipman facing increasing backlash for ‘straight-pride’ flag
Village of Chipman facing increasing backlash for ‘straight-pride’ flag – Oct 23, 2018

Ultimately, city council decided not to grant the permit because organizers hadn’t had the event insured, and over safety concerns, CBS Sacramento reported.

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“If you don’t have insurance, you can’t reserve one of our parks,” Modesto city spokesperson Thomas Reeves told that network.

“The second thing is our concern for safety. We have a big concern for the safety of the residents around Graceada Park, which is where this is being proposed, but also for those who are participating in this.”

READ MORE: Goal of ‘straight pride’ flag raising was to ‘pull people together’ — Chipman mayor

Grundmann denied being a racist in an interview with The Washington Post.

“It’s just a verbal gaffe,” he told the newspaper — though he also told the Post that “white supremacy doesn’t exist.”

Grundmann also described to the newspaper an alleged plan by members of the LGBTQ community to add more and more letters to that acronym in a way until it developed a code that would legitimize child sex.

He said claims of racism were just a way to keep him from exposing plans like those, the Post added.

WATCH: Aug. 8 — Fredericton business owners dealing with repetitive vandalism to their Pride flags

Click to play video: 'Fredericton business owners dealing with repetitive vandalism to their Pride flags' Fredericton business owners dealing with repetitive vandalism to their Pride flags
Fredericton business owners dealing with repetitive vandalism to their Pride flags – Aug 8, 2019

The concept of a Straight Pride Parade originates with a group known as Super Happy Fun America, which is organizing such an event in Boston on Aug. 31, aiming to put on what they call a “festive occasion that will be used as a platform to educate the public on the unique problems facing our community and to fight against heterophobia.”

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Group founder John Hugo has said straight people are not represented at Pride parades, and that he’d like them to be included with the acronym, “LGBTQS.”

“Until that time, we have no other choice but to host our own events,” he told Vox.

READ MORE: Rainbow flag torn down days before Fredericton Pride Week

Pride Toronto executive director Olivia Nuamah told Global News last month that Straight Pride represents an attempt by a group to say it is oppressed in a way that underprivileged people are.

“[It’s] as though, somehow, they are equally oppressed for not being able to take up space around their own sense of oppression,” she said.

The issue of Straight Pride also emerged in Chipman, N.B. last year, after the village raised a flag honouring the concept an in effort to “bring people together,” Mayor Carson Atkinson told Global News in October.

The flag flew for 24 hours but was taken down after it became a “polarizing issue,” Atkinson said, though he did not apologize for raising it.

“There’s not so much an apology,” he said.

“It’s an apology for all of the people that are tied up in this, and that have taken exception on both sides of the issue.”

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  • With files from Laura Hensley

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