Sunday, June 20, 2010

A "Normal" Gay Pride Parade Would Be the Freakiest and Most Twisted Parade of All

Joe. My. God. posts his annual pre-Pride Parade rant. He's published this same essay every year since 2005, and I think it's always worth reading.

Here's a sample:

"David! Sweetie! Where are you watching from? Come hang out with us on Allen's balcony!"

David, a bookish looking middle-aged man, destroyed the festive mood in the little store in an instant. "Absolutely not. Those defectives and freaks?" he spat, indicating the colorful crowd outside the store, "They have nothing to do with MY life, thank you very much. This parade has as much dignity as a carnival freak show. It's no wonder the whole country hates us."

Luckily for David, the Asshole Killer mind ray I've been working on is not yet operational. I settled for pushing him a little, just a tiny bit, just to get by him in that narrow aisle, of course. I returned to my sweaty little group and tried to put what I'd heard out of my mind for the remainder of the day, because I knew that by the next morning, the thousands of Davids of the world, the ones who have media access anyway, would all issue their now familiar day-after-Pride rant. The one where they decry the drag queens on all those newspaper front pages. The one where they beat their chests and lament, "Why don't the papers ever show the NORMAL gay people? Where are the bankers and lawyers? Why must all the coverage be drag queens and leather freaks in assless chaps?"

And every year, the logical answer is that bankers and lawyers are
boring to look at and that pictures of marching Gap employees don't sell newspapers. There's no sinister media agenda intent on making gay people look ridiculous, no fag-hating cabal behind the annual front page explosion of sequins and feathers. It's just good copy. Drag queens areinteresting. Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones.

Yet right on cue, the day after Pride, the Davids of the blogosphere dished out their heavy-handed dissections of parades around the country. Only this year, there was a palpably nastier tone to an already traditionally nasty annual debate. Blame the election, blame the recent avalanche of anti-gay legislation, but this year, the usual assimilationist arguments went beyond the hypothetical speculations that maybe our Pride parades were too outlandish, that maybe we weren't doing the movement any favors by showing the country a face that happened to be wearing 6-inch long false eyelashes. This year there was some actual discussion about HOW we were going to "fix" Pride parades. Of how we might go about "discouraging" certain "elements" from taking part in the parades.

I've had the same experience myself many times over. There are always the curmudgeons complaining about the whole "freak show" and worried how it must look to the rest of hetero America. I have the same answer JMG does. Straight people watch the parade precisely because it is freaky and over the top. They count it. If it was sober and respectable with hymn singing, no one would come. I knew an elderly couple from New Jersey who came to the Gay Day Parade in New York every year and brought their cameras. She liked the go-go boys, and he liked the drag queens. There are a lot of people who wouldn't go near the Saint Patrick's Day Parade (a "religious" parade with a lot of drinking and fighting) who never miss the tits, feathers, and sequins on Gay Day. There are many who bring their kids. There are lots of straight folk who come to the Parade every year, and even march in it, because it's the best party of the year (New Year's in Times Square is being cold and wet, locked into a police barricade with a horde of tourists, nothing to eat or drink, and a bottle to pee in).

It's great to have the straight folk enjoying our parties and having fun. No one does a blow-out like us. And what's more, they are encouraged to make their own fun, just like we do. No one ever asks (except in irony), "are we having fun yet?" If they genuinely enjoy our company, then they are much more likely to be our friends.

Our straight friends don't want us to be "normal." They want us to be "out there" going where no one has gone before. "Normal" isn't doing very well by anybody these days. "Normal" invaded a country and started a war for made up reasons. "Normal" got rich off looting the world economy. "Normal" looked the other way and covered up decades of child molesting in the church sacristy. "Normal" is politicians from Rand Paul to Diane Feinstein preparing to go to war against the unemployed (as opposed to unemployment). "Normal" is a fat drug addict in his fourth marriage claiming to be a Tribune of the People and champion of what is "normal." "Normal" is a certain governor who quit half way through her term becoming a political star. "Normal" routinely got waived past safety and environmental laws by corrupt regulators and was responsible for a refinery explosion in Houston that cost 15 lives and is now responsible for an oil rig explosion that killed 11 people and created the worst environmental disaster in history in the Gulf of Mexico. That's "normal," and you can have it. Assimilate yourself Andrew Sullivan. I want no part of it.

Most importantly, Gay Day is a big party to celebrate being alive in the faces of all those people who wish we were dead.

Gay Day in Jerusalem

Gay Day in San Francisco

Gay Day in Albany, New York

Gay Day in Rome


Take a look at what acting "normal" and trying to "pass" will get you in Texas. Here is a tea-bagger inspired plank in the latest Texas GOP platform:

We oppose the legalization of sodomy. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy. We support legislation that would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for such. We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.

Joe.My.God again

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