The Norman Transcript


September 30, 2010

Proclamation support depends on perspective



“I can guarantee that there is no choice,” he said. “I will believe that until the day I die.”

Fred Pope said he and his family moved to Norman 15 years ago looking for a place that didn’t necessarily embrace the GLBT community.

“We moved here so we could raise a family in a great location,” Pope said. “And what this does tonight is begin to undermine that, tear it down and pull it back.”

He said council’s actions on Tuesday, regardless of the outcome, would have far-reaching consequences now that the topic was out in the open.

“You’ve started the divide in the community, and it’s not going to end,” Pope said to members of council.

Pope, who has gathered his beliefs over years of real-world experiences and struggles, said he attended a “quilt event” in Portland, Ore., some years ago. He said the quilts had images of people who had died of AIDS on them.

“Quilt after quilt after quilt,” Pope said. “This lifestyle is so destructive … it broke my heart to see young man after young man … on a quilt because they engaged in a lifestyle they thought would set them free.”

Alice Kloker said she supported the proclamation because she hopes that it will help reassure friends of hers that are part of the GLBT community that Norman is a safe place to visit and live.

Kloker said she and her husband have lived in Norman for three years and that they “love it here, we think it’s a great community.”

But Norman’s definitely not perfect, she said.

“One thing that’s difficult for us, though, is we have a hard time convincing our gay, lesbian and transgender friends to come visit us here,” Kloker said. “Because they don’t think it’s going to be safe and they don’t think this is a good place to bring their children and they don’t think this is a good place to bring their family.”

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