Alexander Maher (July 20) claims that Martin Luther King would be, therefore we all should be, disgusted by the lighting scheme on the MLK bridge. While there are several points in Mahers letter I could take issue with, rather than knocking at each and every point of his logic Id prefer to just stick to his issue with rainbows.
While yes, the rainbow flag has been taken by the LGBT community as a symbol of pride, unity and diversity since Gilbert Baker first flew a hand-dyed rainbow flag over San Franciscos gay pride march in 1978, I highly doubt rainbow-colored anything, as Maher suggests, reflects gay pride. If that were so, it could be argued that actual rainbows in the sky are now Gods way of supporting the LGBT movement. As much as I, as a gay man, would love to claim that, its honestly pretty silly.
So, no, not everything rainbow colored reflects gay pride. Further, the one time I have seen the bridge lit up (Ive avoided the Clinton Street detours), the colors were not in sequential rainbow order, but in pairs of colors that seemed nearly if not completely random in the few seconds it took to traverse the bridge, and the thought of the rainbow gay pride flag didnt even cross my mind.
In fact, even now, if I take a moment to think about a multi-colored light show on a bridge dedicated to King, my first thought would drift to the myriad of different people in our community, both in race and nationality, from black, white, Asian and Latin to the influx of Slavic people we received during the Serbian-Croatian wars, to the fact that Fort Wayne hosts one of the worlds largest populations of Burmese expatriates. Actual skin colors dont make for a great light show, but a great light show could make you think about all the different skin colors and cultures that make Fort Wayne a melting pot that this country has always claimed to be.
If the pretty little lightshow on the MLK bridge doesnt even inspire the gay pride in a gay man, I cant help but wonder whether Maher is either suffering from a bit of the gay panic or is just looking for an excuse to complain about a pretty (if possibly distracting) light show on a new modern looking bridge,