Consider it a blessing in disguise.
That's what I keep hearing from members of several Oklahoma gay rights and human rights groups regarding those infamous remarks made by Sally Kern, our State Representative for District 84.
Just in case you've been hiding under a rock this year (and with the wild weather we've had, I really don't blame you), Rep. Kern drew worldwide attention to the Sooner State after she compared gays to terrorists.
The speech that made its way on YouTube, thanks to an anonymous poster, sparked outrage - not only among the gay community of Oklahoma - but gay communities across America. Yours truly was a guest on CNN's Headline News to talk about this big story that we here at News 9 first broke.
Almost immediately after the word of the speech made its round on the news, those gay rights and human rights activists began planning anti-Sally rallies. I remember one proud lesbian told us it was nice to see her brothers and sisters rally together instead of sitting around and taking what she called ‘verbal abuse' by an elected leader.
Fast forward to this week, the gay pride week for Oklahoma City.
Sally Kern's comments have ignited a fire of pride in the gay community who is planning to rally and celebrate the lifestyle this year - like no other.
Earlier today I interviewed Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard. It was 10 years ago Matthew was murdered in Wyoming for being a young gay man. Judy says it was Sally's comments that prompted her to come to OKC this year and be a guest speaker at this year's Cimarron Alliance Foundation banquet. On Monday, June 23, the True Colors Tour will make a stop in Oklahoma City at the Zoo Amphitheatre. Cyndi Lauper, the B-52s, Margaret Cho, Andy Bell of Erasure and Carson Kressley are among those headlining this remarkable event. Tickets are still available and we've linked a one-on-one interview with the Zoo Amphitheater's director to this page. He talks more about the concert and the proceeds that will go to the Human Rights Campaign.
A bigger and better parade and street festival is planned. Notable guest speakers. A great concert at the Zoo. A community that is re-energized and ready to stand up for its rights.
As one activist said at today's interview with Judy: "Thank you, Sally."