The End of Gay Pride II

My previous column, "The End of Gay Pride," apparently made a stir in the hearts of some of my readers. In the course of a week I have been e-mailed messages calling me the “anti-gay messiah,” I have been accused … Read More

By / December 11, 2006

My previous column, "The End of Gay Pride," apparently made a stir in the hearts of some of my readers. In the course of a week I have been e-mailed messages calling me the “anti-gay messiah,” I have been accused of “being a spineless self-loather who’s internalized all the sick prejudices of America’s evil middle-class suburban honkey heterosexual Episcopalians (shiver),” and been thanked for making a statement of truth among a community of deception. I have achieved my goal with the help of all of you: to empower people, make them angry, make them think, and most importantly get a conversation started. The goals here were to clearly and comprehensively define what it is I was trying to say in “The End of Gay Pride.” As a community, we seem to think that it’s “rebellious” or "progressive" to embody the very prejudices and stereotypes about gay culture we’d like to see eliminated. Since when has histronics become synonymous with progress? The rights we are being denied (marriage) are rights we’re entitled to, however, the way we present ourselves to mainstream society is in need of a desperate overhaul. When this change occurs within our own community, we can begin to fight with “new militancy” on more equal footing. Why is it that my straight friends do not feel comfortable coming out with me to a gay-friendly place? I am told it is because they are treated like meat in a market or as one reader commented: “The only time I ever feel uncomfortable {in the gay community} is when I go to a gay bar where I get ogled by a 60 year old guy dressed like an 18 year old. I typically find that once those pervs find out I'm straight they think that they will be the one to ‘convert’ me.” This statement, whether you choose to accept it or not, is one based in truth.

“Thirty years ago it was one thing: like any group of people recently freed from (some of) the tenets of oppression, gay people were experiencing free sexuality for the first time since the days before Oscar Wilde.” –Samuel Yeo

There is some importance in recognizing where we as a gay culture are coming from historically so that we can more easily find a way to define where we are going in the future. We must first understand our roots before we can successfully break away from them. Before the 1970’s, if you were gay (and people knew it) you were sent to an institution for psychiatric treatment, killed, or summarily shunned – suffering what in legal terms is often referred to as a “social death.” Then when the 70’s hit, gay men decided to take power and flaunted their homosexuality as an act of liberation. They migrated to cities and began having sex anywhere and everywhere, in public or private. As an initial defiance against repression and cultural conservatism, this response was understandable, reminiscent of bra-burning and “Black Power” in the 60’s. But how long does “liberation” last? It’s been more than thirty years since Stonewall – hasn’t the time come to redefine who we are and what we stand for? I’m fed up with seeing gay culture defined by gay culture as a choice between a vapid campfest or a jism-soaked parade orgy. Face the facts: gays run some of the most successful businesses and creative industries in this country, yet we’re still happily identified by Queer Eye casting standards. Why take such a complacent attitude to media portrayals of us as fashionistas, makeup artists, stylists and interior decorators? Surely we have a corner on other markets and we should be up in arms about the representations that supposedly open the minds of America. We have a new Gay and Lesbian television network and I find the majority of the programming infuriating because it’s shallow and dishonest in its representation of a group to which I belong. One of my readers wrote: “Queer people are forging a new frontier in the world and if you want to be left behind with the straight guys who love you then cool. We don't want you. Jerk!!” I noticed that FabFAGfreddy didn’t mention any of the ways that we as homosexuals are forging this so-called “new frontier.” I suppose he could have used my column as an example of the newly forged frontier; how one small voice can affect thought which will result in change. I would like to point out the constructive nature of FAG’s statement and thank him for making my case for me. Kicking each other out of the community is not the answer, and calling ourselves things like fairy or, in this case, FAG, certainly will not get us very far. Redefine! Stand up and say, “No, I am not that.” Scream it as loud as you can. A whisper of truth can be heard in a crowd of screaming lies. This is illustrated by the response to my last submission. I am not picking on FabFAG, but I felt compelled to use his comment to show that he himself, tyrannical as he felt, actually made my point for me.

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is not time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. I am proud to be a gay man and tired of living as one of few that feels as though our culture has responsibility for the hatred and oppression we face. This is the key to truly forging a new frontier.

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