A planned “Straight Pride” event in Modesto, California, is facing vocal opposition — including from the estranged gay son of one of the event’s organizers.
Matthew Mason, 28, of Turlock, California, is scheduled to address the Modesto City Council on Wednesday to oppose the National Straight Pride Coalition’s application for a permit to host a Straight Pride event on Aug. 24 at the Mancini Bowl in Modesto’s Graceada Park. The event would celebrate “heterosexuality," "masculinity," "femininity" and "babies, born and unborn.”
While Modesto City Council members don’t actually approve or deny such permits, according to The Modesto Bee — that's the job of city staff — Mason, who is gay, is hoping that his perspective as the adopted son of one of the event's organizers will still make an impression with the city.
Mason’s adoptive mother, Mylinda Mason, is one of the event's organizers. The two are estranged because he is gay.
In an interview with NBC News, Matthew Mason said he was home-schooled by Mylinda Mason from kindergarten to 12th grade and was "raised to toe her party line.”
“Any sort of ideological deviation from her philosophy was grounds for punishment, so I quickly learned that I had to say what she wanted me to say and do what she wanted me to do — until I became an adult and I was free and then I lived in my own truth, so that’s what I'm doing,” Matthew Mason said.
Today, Matthew Mason is studying for his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and hopes to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner. When he was young, he said his mother would bring him to anti-LGBTQ protests outside the annual LGBTQ prom in Hayward, California.
“I am in a unique place to call her out for where she's coming from, which is white supremacy, and I did not feel like I had the right to stay silent,” Matthew Mason said.
“Mylinda constantly talks about revisionist history, but really her style of history is the one that's revisionist,” Matthew Mason said. “The genocide of the indigenous population of North America was not ever covered in our home-schooling. I learned about ‘the white men that built the world,’ to quote Mylinda, but as I got older and I got a little more aware of history, I realized that these white men who built the world built it on the backs of people of color, of slaves, and through genocide.” Matthew said that he was taught that America was a “God-blessed nation” but that his lessons also completely ignored “the genocide, slavery, and white nationalism that built it.”
In an interview, Mylinda Mason confirmed that she has been involved in anti-LGBTQ advocacy for three decades.
“I had experienced watching in the media and the educational system and America declining, I watched the dumbing down, if you will, of my nation, and as a young Christian I was concerned what was going on in our society. So I decided that someone should be involved in these issues, and one day it appeared to me that I’m someone,” Mylinda Mason said. “I might not be able to take it all on, but i can certainly do a part.”
She acknowledged that she brought Matthew to protest LGBTQ people — while he struggled with being gay. “I could see the struggle on my son's face at the very last prom,” she said. And yet she said that her son's homosexuality was to blame for their poor relationship, not her political opinions.
"Homosexuals in general pull away from family and friends at some point,” she said, calling it “very typical.”
“All I can say about my son is that I have read a lot of the word ‘hate’ out there and I do not hate my son, I do not like my son, I do not love my son, I adore my son — and I want my son in heaven ultimately with me one day. And so I will remain firm on standing what I believe are biblical family values.”
As for Matthew’s claim that she taught him a history of white supremacy, Mylinda Mason said, “Let’s get the quote correct — it’s Western civilization that was built by European males that came here to establish the greatest nation on earth.”
Mylinda Mason denied that she was a white supremacist. “We are the only nation in the world that has had the black man and the white man stand side by side to free their brothers from slavery,” she said. “It’s a beautiful testimony to the liberty under union.”
“Like I told the media in the past, to sensationalize it is good for selling newspapers, but it’s going to be much like a church service," whose purpose, she said, was to celebrate “life.”
“That is, to celebrate all of life,” Mason said, “Under the order of our creator, begins with heterosexuality, masculinity, femininity, babies born and unborn, Western civilization, our wonderful country, and Christianity — really all of life — it’s a celebration of all of life.” She then quoted Psalms 44:8 — “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.”
“I think that the word ‘pride’ has been stolen, if you will, or hijacked by the evil one, and I want to say that we are taking pride in our God almighty, in our creator, and in his order.”