Governor Duff’s adviser addresses the pride of Haverhill; Reminiscent of ‘Gay Bashing’ and ‘Nasty’

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Advisor to the Governor, Eileen R. Duff, said the leadership of elected officials has been instrumental in bringing “huge, progressive change not just in this country, but in this state” for the LGBTIQA+ population.

Speaking ahead of Haverhill’s biggest flag-raising ceremony to date last Thursday, Duff said she faced ‘gay attacks and meanness’ when she stood for first time in public office 11 years ago.

“You know it can happen, but you were really, really shocked. In one of the conversations I had with a reporter, I was an adult. I put myself out there so it’s one thing for me to take it. But the children read the newspaper. Children read these online forums. How safe do you think they feel? She asked.

Although Massachusetts is safe, she said there are threats ahead.

“We have an equal marriage. We will not lose equal marriage in Massachusetts. I really don’t think that will happen. I think that’s going to be heavily attacked by the Supreme Court of the United States and I think we’re really going to have to fight for it. That’s why we celebrate Pride Month. We need to let people know we are here,’ she told the crowd outside Haverhill Town Hall.

She pointed out that Pride Month observes the uprising against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969.

“We must always approach everything with love and compassion, but be prepared to fight for your rights if you need to. Be prepared to defend the underdog and be prepared to defend the little guy,” she urged.

Senator Barry R. Finegold, whose district will be expanded to include Haverhill, told those gathered that society needed more “empathy”.

“One of the hardest things for people to do is to put themselves in another person’s shoes and understand what they’re going through, what they like, how they do things. I will say that in 2022 we need more of that. We need more empathy. We need more understanding. It’s a crazy time when we have a Supreme Court that is pushing us backwards, scaring us not to advance social issues, but to go backwards.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said the city pride celebration started a few years ago as a small ceremony in the mayor’s office, but grew under the leadership of the Councilman Thomas J. Sullivan. He read a proclamation declaring June Pride Month in the city.

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