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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Monday, July 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

As a black man, I am highly offended by the assertions made by Bruce Braden in his letter “Bad laws tyranny” (July 11 and when he compares the struggle of gay marriage to the plight of blacks in this country.

It is not a civil-rights issue or struggle. When I walk into a room, I do not have to tell people I am black; it is announced from the moment I cross the threshold. Unless one is “out of the closet,” no one can or will ever know one's sexuality. People have hidden this from friends and loved ones for years; am I able to do this?

Also, when was the last time a police officer pulled over someone who is gay and in the “wrong neighborhood”? I have been pulled over on more than one occasion for “DWB” (“driving while black”)!

Have gay people ever experienced being told they cannot eat or live somewhere or have to ride in the back of a bus? Have they had dogs and water hoses turned on them, been denied access to equal education, made to drink from a separate water fountain or use a different restroom? All of these answers are a resounding “no!”

All people should be treated with respect and not harassed for any reason; I loathe bullying of any form. But gays and lesbians do not know the pain of what I know as a person of color and what I go through every day for just being black (without having to tell anyone).

Please do not compare my pain with their pain; it is apples and oranges!

Norman F. Hargraves IV


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