Sunday, June 25, 2006

I Know Why the Gay Boy Dances

Why are there Pride parades?
Why do gays and lesbians need their own Pride Day anyway?
Why is there no Straight Pride Parade?
Why are gays so flamboyant at Pride?
Can I go to gay Pride if I'm heterosexual?
What's the deal with rainbow flags, pink triangles and "gay, gay, gay?"

I have often been asked these questions and given that the month of June has traditionally been gay Pride month, I thought I would briefly address some of these questions (please read this month's previous posts if you haven't and check out the links to find out more!).

During my childhood I had sayings such as "pride goeth before a fall,"and "handsome is as handsome does" ingrained into my being. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins in the church. Even today a student asked me if I thought I was handsome and I explained that I was uncomfortable complimenting myself. When I witness a student bragging, I often quote "It's better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt." So it's ironic that pride is something I would possibly advocate.

I ran across this definition of pride recently that challenged what I had heard growning up. I just love it and must share. "Pride is faith in the idea that God had when (God) made us." (Isak Dinesen, the pen name of Karen Blixen, in her book Out of Africa. Incidentally she's also the author of Babette's Feast which was made into a movie I really loved!) She goes on to say "As the good citizen finds his happiness in the fulfilment of his duty to the community, so does the proud man find his happiness in the fulfilment of his fate. "

For centuries, gays and lesbians have been told that we are unnatural or even evil. We have come so far since that time but there is still a long way to go.

Here's the infamous "gay agenda" that the fundamentalists rant about.
Because the government will not allow all people to marry their person of choice;
Because people are still denied jobs, promotions or denied accommodation because of their sexual orientation;
Because gay teenagers are disproportionately at risk of suicide;
Because people are still beaten or murdered for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered;
Because people are still made to feel uncomfortable when holding the hand of a partner while walking down the street;
Because informational materials are still censored by the government and banned from schools;
Because these relationships remain unrecognized in hundreds of federal and state laws. (source)
These aren't "gay rights" but human rights. So for me, gay Pride is when celebration, demonstration and affirmation combine into one colourful, musical and meaningful event. Gay Pride is our way to say, “We’re here. We’re proud of who we are. We’re celebrating ourselves.”


Jay said...

There are a lot of issues that still need addressing. Having just been to the Pride in Santa Fe, it struck me that the event was more about partying and being countercultural than being LBGT. If it weren't for the rainbow flags, it would be hard to distinguish this from nearly any other downtown event in Santa Fe. Still cool to see.

Anonymous said...

It's a celebration of life. Period!

Jolie said...

I was sad to realize that I had missed our Pride this year because we were on vacation. I was even more sad when I read that Jody Watley played and was amazing. We had a program of events at my work, so it was nice to see all that had gone on. It was the 36th year of Pride in Portland.

Seriously, do straight people need a parade? I would just be boring. :)