The Spectacle of Gay Pride

June 27, 2008

Published in the June 1, 2007 edition of QSaltLake: Utah’s Gay and Lesbian News and Entertainment Magazine.

I’m not sure if it is becoming easier to come out or harder. Sometimes I think the amount of public scrutiny homosexuality gets in the media and politics is harmful to some. I remember being with an ex-boyfriend, who is not out to his conservative Republican father, [he] told me that images of men plastered on CNN “prancing” in veils in San Francisco during the period when Gavin Newsome married gays in contravention to CA law would not make it easier for him to sit and talk to his father, but instead, harder.

A friend wrote that to me about a year ago, and his thoughts echo a letter to the editor in QSaltkLake last year around Pride time. The author complained the spectacle of pride actually hurt the gay community. Apparently, he doesn’t appreciate men wearing nothing but their speedos while dancing in the street. I can see why some people feel that way, but I really think they would do well to get over it.

I would speculate that at least some of those people that we saw in San Francisco years ago, as well as many of the people we see participating every year in the Pride Parades across the country now, have done more to further the cause of equality than any gay man who hasn’t come out to his conservative Republican father. Somebody has got to represent the gay community, and their isn’t a closet big enough to hold the population of the world. You have to come out to do it.

I know that there are many people straight, gay and everything in between who are uncomfortable with those members of the gay community who “prance” around unabashedly being the person they feel they are inside. A friend once told me how much he respected drag queens for the way they express themselves. Because when your hair and your footwear make you four feet taller than you normally are and two feet taller than the tallest player on the Jazz, there’s no hiding from those who might ridicule you. 

By nature and upbringing, I live along the more conservative line of things, but I sure am glad that everyone doesn’t! What a boring world it would be without diversity. People that shun diversity because it makes them uncomfortable need to recognize that as their own problem. Besides, there’s no way that you’re going to get the feather-headdress-wearing drag queens back in the closet. If you don’t feel that they adequately represent the gay community then join the club, really, join the club and help the gay community more fully show who they are. 

I don’t believe in padding the truth so that it will be easier for people to take. Now, that doesn’t mean that you throw it in people’s faces, but you surely don’t hide the truth for fear that someone might have to deal with their own ignorance or bigotry. Hatred should not be tolerated by either our actions or our lack of action. I believe it is in the best interest of the world to promote understanding through honest living and transparent relationships.

If you move at all through the gay community you will find people of the highest quality. It is my personal belief that if we are not better than most of our straight counterparts, then we are doing something wrong. The very fact that many of us had to become the people we truly are without the support of the social systems we were raised in should give us a foot up in this world, it puts us out ahead. Use your struggles, stand on top of them and see how it improves your view of the world. Accept who you are and let yourself be better for it. 

You have no reason to be ashamed of the community you belong to, even if that community has men who wear dresses and dykes on bikes. Be proud that your community holds members who cover the full spectrum of color. Those dykes are not on bikes out of bigotry or shame. Those men are not wearing dresses in public out of self-loathing. It’s the beauty of being gay that you don’t have to be like everyone else in your community, you can be just who you are and you’re still welcome to march along with us in our parade. It’s true that our sense of community has a ways to go still: The gay community is far too cliquish and self-involved in my opinion. But I think we’re improving. I believe we have the capability to overcome the deeply rooted self-hatred that almost imperceptibly manages to rule so much of our social structure.

Gay Pride is an opportunity to come out and be surrounded by members of your community. And just like being a member of the world community doesn’t make me Hindu or German, being a member of the gay community doesn’t make you effeminate or a dyke on a bike. Gay Pride is about celebrating diversity. If you want to participate, no one will expect you to compromise who you are; so please, stop expecting others to compromise who they are because it makes you uncomfortable. An accompanying song for this month’s column is “Be As” by Prozzak. Please party responsibly, use protection, and maybe try making a few new friends — and just for the sake of making a few new friends, not because you want to sleep with them. Happy Pride, everyone!

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One Response to “The Spectacle of Gay Pride”

  1. […] bookmarks tagged cliquish The Spectacle of Gay Pride saved by 4 others     TheSeventhHokage bookmarked on 07/20/08 | […]

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