An open letter to Mary Ann Burkhart of Bethel Park.

The Tribune Review ran this piece: When Pittsburgh flies rainbow flag, some see red

Ms. Burkhart is quoted:

“Lesbians, gays and transsexuals are honored … under a flag that many people have died for?” she said. “I’m crying for my country.”

Ms. Burkhart,

You make the assumption that those who have defended this country: one, should only be honored if they fit your narrow view of acceptability, and two, no one from the LGBT community has ever died for this country.

Let’s start with the countless scores of LGBT service members who have fought for this country since its very inception.  Who have died for this country.  Do you not think that they matter?  Can you so callously brush them aside?

Why do you not also cry for them?  Does their sacrifice, their family’s loss, not move you?  Why is your sorrow based upon their personal lives, in which you are in no way connected?

And what of the countless members of the LGBT community harassed, beaten and murdered, simply for who they are.  It was only a few short years ago that sexual orientation and gender expression were added to the federal hate crime statutes.  And it took the brutal and heinous murder of young man Matthew Shephard to bring this issue into focus.

Matthew died underneath that flag.  He died here, on American soil, tied to a fencepost, beaten and tortured and left to die in agony, all because of who he loved.

So when you cry Ms. Burkhart, cry for our fellow citizens.  Cry for the ones who spread bigotry and intolerance.

So when you cry Ms. Burkhart, cry for our county.  Cry for those who have died underneath the American flag, their lives cut short due to the hatred of their neighbors.

So when you cry Ms. Burkhart, cry for all the brave members of our armed forces, not just some of them.  For they all deserve our respect.

All my best,


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