Saturday begins with an anti-hate event; ends with 2 arrests at ‘straight pride’ rally

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8/28/21

Modesto’s third straight pride rally was preceded Saturday morning with an anti-hate event and ended when a fight led to disbursement, road closures and two arrests. About 100 people gathered at 10 a.m. Saturday in Roosevelt Park for a Modesto Stands Against Hate event. It was put on by multiple organizations including MoPride and Stanislaus DSA to affirm the LGBTQ+ community and speak out against the Straight Pride Coalition. “It’s the right answer for an anti-LGBT, racist group,” attendee Francis Yangat said. “There’s no oppression on the heteronormative.” Yangat said he went two years ago to counter protest at the first “Straight Pride” event held in Modesto. He said he is actively outspoken against the group to serve as an example for his younger family members. “It’s important we foster a loving, more inclusive future for them,” he said. Jupiter Dalby, an organizer with the Central California LGBTQ Collaborative, said he feels many places — including Modesto and the Central Valley as a whole — are still behind when it comes to LGBTQ+ equality. Straight pride is just a continuation of that mindset. “I think it’s quite frankly disgusting,” Dalby said. Although his family is now supportive, Dalby was originally kicked out when he came out to his parents as transgender. He said he was homeless for some time and feels being trans and queer can make life more difficult for himself and others. Dalby said the community, city council and mayor need to help fight against hate in Modesto. “They need to stand up for us,” he said. “They need to show up for us.” At the same time as Roosevelt Park attendees began packing up around noon, the Straight Pride rally was getting started just a few blocks away at the Modesto Planned Parenthood. Proud Boys, a conservative pastor and other extreme right-wing supporters stood in front of the building and nearby street corners while a small group of counter-protesters stood across the street from them. They stayed mostly away from each other for the first hour, but sometime after 1 p.m., the two sides clashed. Modesto Police was called to the scene where a fight had broken out and someone had sprayed bear spray, police spokesperson Sharon Bear said. Officers in tactical gear joined bicycle officers who were already in the area. The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department also sent personnel, Sheriff Jeff Dirkse said in a Facebook post Saturday.

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