Despite being denied a permit for a planned parade, a Modesto "straight pride" event on Saturday likely drew about as many supporters as it was ever going to — "a few dozen people gathered in a barn," according to the Modesto Bee. Meanwhile hundreds showed up for counter-protests and shouting matches.
Straight prider Don Grundmann has had ulterior motives in trying to launch this event all along. The San Leandro-based chiropractor may really hate LGBTQ people and believe they're all molesting children, but he also hates abortion, and a closed Planned Parenthood clinic was the second and only stop of his group's march on Saturday. There they could be heard shouting "build the wall" and "four more years," while the far larger group of counter-protesters chanted "Love not hate makes America great," per the Bee.
The two groups managed to keep things peaceful, according to Modesto police, and there was no street-fighting of the sort we saw two years ago when alt-right activists confronted antifa members multiple times in Berkeley.
State Senator Scott Wiener went to join the counter-produce Saturday, calling the straight pride event homophobic and transphobic.
Standing in solidarity with the people of Modesto against the “Straight Pride” parade & the homophobia, transphobia, & white supremacy it represents. We stand united against hate. pic.twitter.com/eRfvMA62PY— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) August 24, 2019
As Grundmann told KRON 4 on Friday, he was not going to be deterred by the lack of a permit or threats of counter-protesters, and he just really wanted to exercise his First Amendment rights to say what he wants to say. "We're just peaceful people walking down the street," he said.
A group formed called the Modesto Nonviolent Collective to help organize protests of Grundmann's efforts.
The Bay Area Reporter shared the detail last month that the adopted son of Grundmann's main collaborator in Modesto, Mylinda Mason, is gay, and he sees Grundmann as a carpetbagger who's shifted his efforts to Modesto because he can't get enough support in the Bay Area. "Don Grundmann is a radical, right-wing fascist from the Bay Area," says Matthew Mason. "He is attempting to use Modesto as a launching ground for his political and cultural campaign of hate." Mason and his adoptive mother are now estranged.
Regarding Grundmann's "free speech" arguments, he says, "I'm sure the leaders of Charlottesville, Virginia, believed that they were protecting free speech by allowing the 'Unite the Right' rally. But they still allowed white supremacists the opportunity to kill Heather Heyer."
As the Modesto Bee reports, the event venue chosen by Grundmann's group, Durrer Barn, did not know the nature of the meeting, and its owners shut the event down once they were contacted and made aware that it was being streamed on social media. The 58 people who attended then shifted their attention to the Planned Parenthood.
Also, per the Bee, Matthew and Mylinda Mason have been invited onto The Dr. Phil Show, but Mylinda Mason has declined.
A Straight Pride parade with Milo Yiannopoulos as its grand marshal is still planned for September 12 in Boston, unless — as with so many things Yiannopoulos touches — the whole thing collapses at the last minute and proves itself to have been just a media stunt to get liberals worked up, and amuse people on 4chan.