June is gay pride month, or LGBT pride month, depending on what school of thought you are in. So I thought I’d field some questions on the topic.
1. Does the gay community really need a whole month to celebrate?
Yes. In fact, we should never stop celebrating all year long. Throughout the year as a whole, we (and by we, I mean the entire LGBT community) have little victories to celebrate. States legalizing same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination laws, legalized adoptions for same-sex couples, etc. Even some of the smaller victories like a trans person on a magazine cover are a step in the right direction for us. They may seem like mere interesting snippets of news trivia to straight people, but they are giant leaps in the fight for equality to us.
2. Why isn’t there a straight pride month?
Every month is straight pride month. Straight (heterosexual) people are in no way oppressed. They are not fighting to be seen as an equal member of society. They are not prohibited from marrying one another. About the only laws restricting straight people are you can’t rape someone, marry your close relative, or have sex with a child. Things that should be common sense anyway.
3. Does having a parade and acting super gay every weekend all month really help your cause?
Yes. And no. Going to (or being part of) a pride parade is just one way we can celebrate our lives. Spending a day, or a weekend, amongst people we know are our peers and equals helps remind us what we are fighting for, what we need to be passionate about, and helps us feel less alone in the world. Throughout the year, many of us spent our days surrounded by straight people that could care less about our individual freedoms and we feel like outsiders in a world that doesn’t want us, so being with “our own kind” (yes, I shuddered as I typed that) keeps the dream alive.
Being “super gay” all weekend I don’t personally feel helps, but to each his own. I don’t like that people stereotype. There are millions of different ways to “be gay”. Generalizing us all as half naked, hairless, buff guys and flannel wearing, butch, motorcycle riding ladies is a bit offensive. But there are those types, and they should feel free to be who they are. So should all the leather wearing hairy older men, the pretty girls, the gothic emo boys and girls, the “normal straight-acting” types, the feminine guys, the drag queens, the transgendered people, the bisexuals, and everyone else. While I don’t understand every type of “gay”, they all make up the community I belong to, and we ALL have reason the to celebrate and act how we want without fear of persecution.
4. Doesn’t having a “gay month” spit in the face of religion, that states homosexuality is wrong?
No. Absolutely, positively, 100%, no. I know, and am friends with, a lot of religious people that are religious AND gay (or supportive), I just don’t happen to be one of them. My own personal thoughts on religion aside (see my numerous other blogs on the subject), there is no reason someone of any faith can’t celebrate. We are not celebrating religion, we are celebrating our pride for the freedoms and liberties we have won. We are celebrating the freedoms and liberties we are still fighting for. We are celebrating things we may not even know we want yet, but the hope we may get them someday anyway.
Depending on your religion, the bible (or whatever book y’all hold sacred) is an interpretation of what the church of your choice is preaching. There are thousands of churches across this country that welcome any and all worshippers, regardless of their sexual orientation. There are some that do not, though why someone should have to pass a sex test to worship is beyond me. The fact that any religion would judge others and condemn them to Hell for merely being who they are is proof that certain religious groups have gone far off the path of righteousness.
There are religious protesters at every pride event I’ve ever been to. They are never harassed, never treated unkind, and are never told not to be there. Which is more than I can say for how the protesters themselves act.
5. What types of freedoms and liberties do you feel you need to celebrate? Isn’t the fact you are allowed to be gay enough?
The freedoms and liberties I’ve spoken of include a lot of things. In the past we’ve fought for recognition, we’ve fought for the decriminalization of being gay, we’ve fought for the right to be considered a “normal” citizen. Throughout the years our focus may have changed, but we are still fighting. Fighting to have the right to marry the person we love, fighting for the right to raise children (be they or biological children or not), and fighting to have equal rights as citizens of this country. We are fighting for total equality. No one should be treated as a second class citizen or treated any different because of who they love…or in some cases who they have sex with. If it ain’t you, it ain’t your business.
Yes, it is legal to be gay and that is definitely something to be thankful for. There are other countries in the world where being a homosexual is punishable by death, no questions asked. That is horrible, and thankfully this isn’t one of them. But to answer the question, no it is not enough. If the shoe were on the other foot, and it were considered “odd” to be straight, wouldn’t you fight to have equal rights? Wouldn’t you want to be able to walk down the street holding the hand of the person you loved? You’d want equality.
6. Is gay pride just people celebrating what happened at The Stonewall Inn?
No. I can’t speak for every member of my community, but I celebrate that the Stonewall Riots (read about them here) happened. They shouldn’t have, and were horrible, but they set into motion a fight that hadn’t died with us since June 28, 1969. Without that driving spark, we may be still hiding out in the back rooms of secret bars hoping the police don’t find us. I don’t condone any kind of violence, and rioting has gotten out of hand, especially lately. The Stonewall riots symbolized the start of our fight for equality, and while I don’t agree with the method, I’m thankful that the urge for equal rights happened.
Many of the younger generation, born post 1969, don’t understand what they symbolize. I’ve had the pleasure to speak to older gay men that remember them and what they stood for. I’ve also read about the subject. But no, most LGBT people don’t celebrate for that reason, very few even know what that riot was about. A sad fact, as it is a part of our history, but true.
7. Why aren’t there any straight people at these events? (Also: Can straight people come?)
There are a lot of straight people at these events. Thousands even. Allies to our cause, friends, family members, and supporters. We would never turn someone away. The whole point is for everyone to be treated equally, not just one group or another. No one is asked what their sexual orientation is upon arrival, and it never will be.
Some of the best people I have seen at these events are the PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays) moms. It is heartwarming to see the families of LGBT people supporting their children.
8. My kids heard there is a parade, is this a safe environment for kids?
For the most part, yes. It has its moments where (depending on the age of your child) there may need to be some parental blockage. It’s a pride parade, and it is generally a safe environment for everyone, but there are a few booths set up promoting sex toys, lubricants, porn sites, and other various “adult” items. The items are not usually out in plain view, but there may be questions of what’s in there or why can’t we go to that booth? Also there may be people walking around in various “inappropriate” outfits. The fetish community is part of our culture, whether everyone agrees or not, so that may raise some questions. Also, there have been known to be shirtless women, though their nipples are (by law) covered. That is their right in the feminist movement, and they are also accepted.
During the parade, there may be a group or float go by with some “not suitable for children” theme or outfits. There aren’t giant penises and vaginas driving down the street, but there may be some questionable outfits and themes, depending on the age of your child and the openness of what you want to explain to them. I don’t have children, but if I did I wouldn’t take them until about middle/high school age. By then they probably have seen or heard about most of the things they’d see anyway.
9. If all the gays are in one place, aren’t you scared of somebody doing something dumb, like a terrorist attack?
This is probably the dumbest question I’ve ever been asked. First of all no, I’m not any more scared at a pride festival than I am any other day of the year. I refuse to live my life in fear, and I hope everyone else feels the same. Not just the LGBT community, but everyone on earth. If you live in fear of a terrorist (or any other radical group) attack, you’ve already let them win. Secondly, though the events reach into the hundreds of thousands of attendees, not ALL gay people go to them. The Earth’s population is roughly 7 billion people, about 1 out of every 10 person is LGBT, so that’s 700 million people that identify as LGBT (approximation of course). Where would we all meet? That would have to be a huge venue.
There are people doing dumb shit, protesters, drug usage, other illegal things, but no one should have any fear other than breaking whatever local laws may apply.
10. Is it true that it is just one big party weekend where everyone gets drunk, does drugs, and screws each other?
Another asinine question. Yes, there is a lot of partying going on. It’s a pride celebration. Whatever city may be hosting it probably has every bar in the city open all day long, and there are usually beer trucks, so yes there is drinking. But no one is making everyone partake. It’s usually in the middle of the afternoon, and I personally hate drinking outside on a hot day in the middle of June. Booze and hot weather and thousands of people all crammed together don’t mix well with me. I stay sober.
There are a lot of after parties, clubs, bars, etc that hold events after the festivities are over, and I’m sure there are a lot of drinking and drug use going on. Probably even some sex. But we all aren’t walking around having sex on the sidewalk, no. In fact (only speaking for myself) I’ve never drank, did drugs, or had sex at any pride event. I rarely drink, never do drugs, and sex is something best left at home behind closed doors. And that could apply to any given day of the year for me, so why would being around hundreds of thousands of people make me feel any different? Crowds give me anxiety, not turn me on.
These are the top 10 questions I’ve been asked about Pride Month. I hope you’ve been enlightened and educated. If you have a question and I haven’t answered it already, please feel free to ask me in the comments section or ask how to ask me privately, I’ll be glad to answer any and all your questions.