From the moment he took to the podium to defend his “Straight Pride” event, Don Grundmann was booed by the assembled crowd at Wednesday’s Modesto City Council meeting. But he quickly became a source of their unmitigated amusement after a slip of the tongue sent the meeting into joyful laughter.
Grundmann, who is attempting to host a “Straight Pride” rally on Aug. 24 in Modesto, started off by defending his intentions.
“We haven’t done anything,” he protested. “We’re a totally peaceful, racist group.”
Although he quickly tried to recant the “racist” portion of his sentence, the chambers were already laughing and cheering so loudly he couldn’t be heard. One of the Modesto city councilmembers can be seen laughing so hard, she fully turns away from her microphone.
Grundmann, who is a chiropractor based in the Bay Area, is partnering with Modesto resident Mylinda Mason for the event. He’s also the founder of the four-month-old National Straight Pride Coalition. On its website, it says it aims to promote and defend “Western Civilization,” “Caucasians,” heterosexuality, a “God ordained natural nuclear family.” It also extols the virtues of nationalism.
Photo: Michael Short / Special To The Chronicle
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Also present at the city council meeting was Matthew Mason, the adopted son of Mylinda Mason. Mason, who is gay, denounced both his adoptive mother and Grundmann at the meeting.
“I have personally heard her use hateful, harmful rhetoric when describing the LGBTQ+ community and non-Christian religious communities,” he said. “Don Grundmann is a radical right-wing fascist from the Bay Area who is attempting to use Modesto as a launching ground for his political and cultural campaign of hate.”
Grundmann and Mylinda Mason have submitted an application to reserve Mancini Bowl, a city-run amphitheater, for their rally, but the city is still weighing whether or not to approve the application. A city spokesman told the Sacramento Bee that a decision would be made by end of week.
City Manager Joe Lopez said an approval of the event permit would not be an endorsement of its message; it would be a “recognition of the free speech rights enshrined in the First Amendment.”
As the Sac Bee notes, Grundmann has a history of promoting his personal agenda through self-created organizations. He also started the Citizens Against Perversion group, among others.
“One of the coalition’s first events, a protest of the Drag Queen Story Time at the JFK Library in Vallejo in June, drew four protesters,” the Bee reports. “The story time drew about 140 people.”
Katie Dowd is an SFGATE Senior Digital Editor. Contact: email@example.com | Twitter: @katiedowd
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/modesto-don-grundmann-straight-pride-rally-14290367.php.