Monday, June 25, 2012

Gay Day in New York, 2012, in Pictures

I've marched in Gay Day parades in New York for almost 20 years, but this year for the first time I took my trusty digital camera.  This has always been one of my favorite days of the year, and now gentle readers, I can share part of my experience with you.  All of these are my pictures except one.

Looking downtown on Fifth Avenue; the huge tower under construction at the end of the street is #4 World Trade Center, the "shortest" of the towers.

It never ceases to amaze me how big this parade is.  We are looking down Fifth Avenue from about 37th street.  The parade started at noon, and it's about 4PM in this picture, and is nowhere near finished.

The parade looking back uptown

The Lavender Line painted along the parade route every year, a local tradition

The Empire State Building viewed from the parade route

The parade passes the Flatiron Building.  Broadway is to the left, and Fifth Avenue is to the right.

The parade passes Norman Vincent Peale's Marble Church, now one of the gay friendliest of the Reform churches.   Church members served water to the marchers.

The haters get fewer and fewer every year.  This is the only one I saw this year.  The cops are telling him to pack up his signs and leave.  "REPENT OR PERISH!" it said on the back of his tee shirt.

And what is a Pride parade without characters?  This gentleman in a kimono walked with us the whole way ringing a small bell.

A self appointed escort for the Episcopal Church float in the parade.  S/he marched the whole way with us.

Sometimes the best part of the parade is the spectators who can put on their own show.

Balcony spectators on Fifth Avenue

More spectators

These spectators send you their best wishes from New York.

Lotsa kids this year both marching and watching.

This young man wanted his picture taken, and here he is.

A lovely couple

Another lovely couple

eye candy

The corner of Christopher Street and Bleecker

Where it all began, the Stonewall Bar

The Episcopal Church had a large contingent in the parade, and official, as well as unofficial, representation.

Here is the Episcopal Church float made for the Diocese of New York.  One of my fellow marchers complained about how dull it was, unforgivable for a gay parade.  But the float did have a DJ who apparently was given free reign.  He wasn't dull.

Our new Episcopal Bishop Coadjutor of New York, Andrew Dietsche on the Episcopal Church float

Some of us just can't go anywhere without incense.

And some people can go a little crazy with the incense.

My parish's contingent in the parade

Lovely happy people from my parish having a great time marching in the parade.  On the left with the umbrella in back is Bruce Fulton.  In the front to the left are Kyle Oliver and Kristin Saylor.  They are newlyweds, and though a hetero couple, this was their third gay day march in New York.  They love it.  The priest is Father Hugh Grant, who unlike the celebrity, is much more interesting and unflappable.

And here is our own lovely Anahi Galante in the parade.

Anahi took this picture of me marching with the parish contingent.  From left to right is Manuel Ducret, Lee Heeter, Yours Truly with my trusty little digital camera, Kristin Saylor, and Kyle Oliver.

I so look forward to doing this again next year!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Alan Turing Turns 100 Today

Alan Turing is the father of computer technology.  Without his work, you would not be reading this.

He cracked the Nazi Enigma code during World War II and saved the British bacon.

A grateful nation hounded Turing to his death for being an openly gay man, and kept his identity secret for decades.


"Up On Top of a Rainbow, Sweeping the Clouds Away!" Happy Gay Day!

Magnus Hirschfeld (lower right) with friends, Berlin, 1920s

Mattachine Society founders in Los Angeles, circa 1952

An issue of The Ladder published by The Daughters of Bilitis, 1950s

Barbara Gittings and others picketing, mid 1960s

Gay Liberation demonstration in Times Square, 1969

ACT UP march, New York, 1994

 Military discrimination ends, 2011

Marriage and family equality, continuing


Rainbows everywhere!



New York


Institutional Failure

At last some victims of predators embedded in and enabled by large powerful institutions got a small measure of justice yesterday.

Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 out of 48 counts of child molestation and rape and will almost certainly never see the world outside of prison walls again.

Monsignor William Lynn, secretary of the clergy for the Diocese of Philadelphia, was convicted of one count of child endangerment becoming the highest ranking member of the Catholic clergy to face criminal charges in the ever expanding international scandal of child sexual abuse around the Catholic Church.  The real culprit, Cardinal Bevilacqua, who appears to have knowingly re-assigned priestly pedophiles to other parishes endangering more children, died in January and I presume now faces a higher court of justice.

These scandals are far from over.  In both cases, monsters were enabled for years by powerful institutions seeking to protect themselves.  I remember when the Jerry Sandusky scandal first broke, how editors, pundits, reporters, and public opinion rallied around Sandusky and his boss, Joe Paterno, not around the crime victims.  The revered leaders of Penn State football could not possibly be guilty of something so monstrous.  Their accusers must be cynical opportunists.  And now, we all know better.  Kudos to the young victims for their courage in coming forward and for standing their ground until justice was done. 
 The Vatican and the Catholic hierarchy continue to do everything they can to avoid any kind of public legal reckoning for what amounts to a massive evasion of justice.  They too can count on institutional power to silence victims and witnesses through intimidation.  In their strenuous efforts to preserve their institutional power and privilege, they are transforming the Catholic Church into an international protection organization for pedophiles.

And how about other institutions?  Accountability these days is for the little people, so it appears.  You can count on going to prison for an $85 mugging, but if you lose around 3 billion dollars worth of depositor and shareholder money in what amounts to gambling, not only do you keep your job, you get defended and congratulated by pundits and politicians.  The Senate Banking Committee gave Jamie Dimon, CEO of Chase, a public blow job last week in a disgusting spectacle. 
No one is being held accountable for the Iraq War, the biggest foreign policy boondoggle since the Vietnam War.  Only low ranking disposable factotums faced justice for all the war crimes committed during that war and in Afghanistan.  The policy makers and their cheerleaders in the media  responsible for a disaster that cost thousands of Iraqi and American lives still have their jobs and their pensions and are walking around loose.

After the deadliest attack on American territory, the September 11th, 2001 attacks, our fearless leaders did not exactly cover themselves in glory.  Newly released CIA documents show that before the attacks, Bush administration officials defunded efforts to track Osama Bin Laden and ignored field agents who were sounding fire alarms about the coming attack.  After the attacks, they deliberately lied about fictional connections between Iraq's Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorists, especially about an alleged meeting between Muhammad Atta and Iraqi agents that turned out to be a fabrication.  From the beginning, they sought to exploit the 9/11 attacks to create support for their plans to invade Iraq.  Incompetence and blinkered ideology enabled the deadliest day in the USA since Antietam.

Our elites suck.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This Year's Pride Day Grand Marshal to the World

Thanks for everything Mr. President!

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

I originally posted this in 2010.  I think it's worth posting again for this year's Gay Day.

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 are interesting. 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 asimilationist 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 on 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). [Caribbean Day in Brooklyn is Gay Day's closest competitor in fun and spectacle with the added advantage of great food].

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

2012 UPDATE:

 This year's Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, one of the largest in the world turning out crowds in the millions.

Salt Lake City's Gay Day which this year included a large contingent of sympathetic Mormons.

Last year's Gay Day in Tokyo

The 2010 Gay Day in Bucharest, Romania.  It remains an open question if there will be another one there.

Gay Day in Moscow this year.  Probably the world's toughest gay activists were set upon and beaten up by nationalists encouraged by the Russian Orthodox Church.  The police looked on, and then arrested the gay activists.

A little reminder of what this is all about:

Popular homophobia in Uganda whipped up by far right American evangelicals and backed with a lot of right wing American money.  Uganda is again considering a bill to make "homosexual acts" a capital offense, this time with the endorsement of the Ugandan Anglican Church.


Iran continues to live the right wing dream with continuing public executions of gay men.  As I've always said, and I will still say, the only meaningful difference between Christian fundamentalists and Muslim fundamentalists is a shave.