Do we need “gay pride” anymore?

It is Gay Pride season in most American cities so there will be parades, celebrations, observances, marathon bike rides and other events designed to heighten the awareness of what critics like to call the “gay agenda.” This year it coincides with a growing call to do away with the ban on gays in the military, growing objections over President Bush’s nominee for Surgeon General and increasing acceptance of gays in the fabric of life in America. It is also a time to begin to question whether anything is “so gay” anymore.""

All Democratic candidates for President have vowed to abandon the failed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy put forth by President Clinton after his attempt to remove the ban entirely was met by a firestorm of criticism. In the 14 years of the policy, sold as a way to permit gays to serve in the military so long as “they didn’t flaunt it” the result has been an increase in service discharges because of being gay, quite the opposite of that predicted at the time.

The most infamous examples of the failure of the policy came with the disclosure by the 9/11 Commission that 58 Arabic linguists had been discharged from the military for a breach of the DADT policy. At a time when our military in Iraq is severely hampered by its inability to provide service members who understand Iraqi citizens, this turns “supporting our troops” on its head.

Repeated surveys of Americans in general and troops in particular show widespread support for allowing gay Americans to serve in our military. Apparently our soldiers have more fear of ridiculously extended tours of duty than of someone seeing them naked in the shower. Gays serve in the military of nearly all our “allies” and have done so without incident and with distinction for many years.

It is way past time to remove this discriminatory ban and honor the willingness of all who wish to serve their country.

As for the nomination of Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., as Surgeon General, there is little surprise that Bush would pick someone who would appeal to the conservative religious base of his party, but it is disappointing that he did so when it is clear this would be yet another divisive move on his part. The doctor has publicly taken stands upon his religious beliefs and eschewed objectivity. As a private person that is his right. As the doctor for all America, it is intolerable. Odd that Dr. Joselyn Elders was removed for making a common sense observation that masturbation might avoid complications from sex among young people yet Holsinger is free to incorrectly stigmatize gay sex as unhealthy by its nature.

The nomination should be withdrawn and the President needs to put forth someone who will heal America, not further divide us.

Despite the remaining division of opinion about gay marriage, gays have for the most part quite successfully been assimilated into the larger population. An overwhelming percentage of Americans feel they should be treated as any other citizen is and that gays are “normal” human beings. Among young people, there is not only high levels of acceptance, but also an attitude of “what is the big fuss about?”

This long sought for acceptance raises an interesting question. Is there really much that distinguishes gays from the rest of America anymore – other, of course, than what we do in bed. (Although even on that front there is a growing convergence of behaviors and even choice of partners when it comes to recreational sex especially)
In other words, do we need “Gay Pride” anymore?

Being a gay man, it used to be fairly easy to rely upon my highly honed “gaydar” to pick my fellow queer men out of a crowd. No longer. Not only have the fashions of gay and straight men become nearly indistinguishable, the behaviors have merged as well. The days of the ‘flaming queen” are passing and despite the appearances of those who march in Pride parades, it is darned tough to tell us apart anymore.

This really is a dilemma faced before by all those who were once different but who have become assimilated into the mainstream. How to preserve the beauty of one’s culture and still gain acceptance and “normalcy” in the larger culture?
Some in the gay community resist this loss of identity and feel the calls for gay marriage are unwanted. But as with most things cultural, the votes that count are those made with the behavior of our young people. On that score, the votes are overwhelmingly in favor of “we’re just like you except what we do in bed.”

So I say fine, America, come on in and join our Pride celebrations and parades! Let’s instead celebrate and have pride in everyone, each one of us, for our uniqueness, or individual personality and quirks.

Lets be proud to be, just as we are.

15 Responses to "Do we need “gay pride” anymore?"

  1. Doubtom  June 13, 2007 at 12:01 am

    Hey Armyguy, if I ever find even one soul, what color do you want me to paint it?

    And If I ever find a god I’ll be glad to paint it also for no extra charge. This is a public service.

  2. Sandra Price  June 12, 2007 at 7:53 am

    …made me immune to this awful hatred for fellow Americans who happen to be gay. My family has their share and nobody was particularly upset and in fact there was little discussion of the facts that so and so prefered boys. My grandmother, being the brains of the clan told us once that maybe Mother Earth was telling us to stop breeding. Okay!

    Even in California I saw among my musicians and actors terrible horrors of physical brutality and I could never understand where this came from.

    I went on line in 1993/4 and found the religious right. I found the source for this torture that my friends and family members had to survive.

    I had a string quintet playing at a Baptist Church and one of the board members of the church asked me how many of these young men were gay. It was during a standing ovation for their playing that I told her “all of them.” I had no idea if any of my boys were gay but the question called for a dramatic answer.

    When will we grow up? When will we learn to appreciate people for what they are not where they sleep?

  3. Armyguy  June 12, 2007 at 10:33 am

    There is a difference between animals and human beings. One difference is that human beings have immortal souls, and another difference is that human beings have human rights, but animals do not.

    We call these human rights “inalienable” because they are from God. If there were no such thing as God, then there would be no such thing as human rights.

    Since some of us believe that God does exist, then we also believe He instilled in us certain human rights because of His commandments to us, so for example, because murder is a sin, then it makes sense that we have a right to live…but we do not have a right, say, to fornicate, because God does not want us to fornicate.

    Therefore, we do not believe homosexuals have a right to marry or to act as if they were.
    Thanks.

  4. Sandra Price  June 13, 2007 at 6:31 am

    But Phil, These people believe sex is a sin. Their first reaction is to prohibit sex unless done in the marriage bed. They believe that prohibiting gay sex will stop gay actions.

    I can’t even imagine thinking along those lines. They don’t realize that they can live their own strict lives and leave it at that. No! they want to prohibit all things that they believe to be sins. It is this power that Jesus Christ has given them to change the world as some scholar claims would be what Jesus wants.

    There is an inherent arrogance among Christians that they are the only people who know the truth. They are willing to kill and die for this religion and then act horrified when Islam is doing the same damn thing.

    America is changing under the obvious hypocrisy found in too many Christian churches. People are not buying this division among people. It will take time.

  5. Phil Hoskins  June 13, 2007 at 1:56 am

    I seldom comment on comments to my own commentary (still with me?), but a couple of points deserve it.

    There is no such thing as a “homosexual” any more than there is a “heterosexual”. There are homosexual acts and heterosexual acts. Categorizing people is always an attempt to marginalize and diminish a human being.

    Kinsey’s research, replicated many times since, showed we are each a mix of sexual identities. Each of us some part homo and some part hetero sexual. Where on the scale you may be today could change tomorrow.

    Present day American and other cultures tend to so heavily stigmatize sex in general and that which does not meet the approval of the most uptight among us that most people have repressed anything other than the most narrow of sexual concepts.

    That is a tragedy that gets played out in wife beatings, hate, war and a host of common ailments. it is a pity we perpetuate this repressive culture with a venegence.
    _______________________

    As to God and his grant of inalienable rights, God wants us to fornicate or else he would not have given us a penis, vagina, mouth, anus or hand. Get over it, God loves sex. He/she must, there is so much of it.

    Phil Hoskins

  6. Sandra Price  June 9, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    I have been fortunate to have the most cultured people around me that just happened to be gay. It was so natural to see my pals coupled as two men or two women that we never gave it much thought. My work with musicians and actors gave my whole family a sense of security with these men and women that it would stun us to hear comments or read comments of homophobia that hurt so many people. I can’t handle the brutality of many people on this subject and I fear for my friends and family members who are a part of gay pride whether they are gay or not!

    Senator Barry Goldwater once said when asked about gays in the military. “Why not? they don’t have to be straight to shoot straight!”

  7. mojibyrd  June 9, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    The whole gay or not too be gay issue is just another cog used to create divisions between peoples different lifestyles, religion, beliefs, culture…this way if the media and public are concentrating on issues such as this and other racism then we are not concentrating on the bigger issues affecting us, such as war, government corruption, lack of work, sky high inflation, etc, etc, etc…just another cog in the racism wheel and we the people fall for it hook line and sinker….instead of just trying to realize people are people irregardless of lifestyle/color or creed.

  8. duckie2k7  June 9, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    In a word, ‘yes’, we do still need gay pride parades and celebrations. If not, then do away with Chinese New Year’s parades, St. Patrick’s Day parades, the Rose Bowl parade, and every other celebratory event that, while it may not apply to everyone in the country, does remind everyone in the country why it is we cherish the freedoms that we have – the freedom to be who we are, love what and whom we do, and to be able to acknowledge our individual and community heritage.

    The Gay Pride events allow the country to acknowledge that there are still injustices in the workplace, the military, and most of all, in nearly every facet of the laws of this country. While the laws are slowly being changed to reflect greater acceptance and integration of gays into society, Gay Pride events remind all of us that things are not equal and that there is still a lot of work to do to achieve equality.

    The day that a family from Every City, USA times their vacation to San Francisco or New York so as to coincide with Gay Pride events (just like people do to see Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade or San Francisco’s Chinese New Year’s parade), and when a straight guy in some bar downs his Cosmopolitan while wearing a “Kiss Me I’m Gay” T-shirt (just like everyone and anyone on St. Patrick’s Day will wear a T-shirt claiming the wearer to be Irish and in need of kiss), then we’ll have reached the equality that is deserved. But even if and when that day arrives, we’ll still want to have the Gay Pride events so that we can be reminded of how good we have it, and how we never want to return to darker days.

  9. Carl Nemo  June 9, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Whether it’s “gay pride”, “a woman’s right to choose”, etc. it won’t mean a tinkers damn if the U.S. as a nation and our paradigm for freedom for all time and all places fails! When it comes to government I don’t care one iota what a persons sexual proclivities might be, nor their need to choose. It’s when you start costing myself and the citizens a “buck or two”, or fail to uphold the laws of the land is when I and others should pay attention!

    How silly that we are obsessed with gays, “gay rights”, the “right to choose” and other such issues when we have mattoids that have stolen the “national credit card” and are spending this nation into oblivion! Have we collectively lost our minds because the average citizen owes about $7500 in credit card debt that they somehow identify with our deadbeat government?!

    Wake-up folks, this national debt is the “real deal” and at last accounting every citizen and even infants in the crib owes about $300,000 per individual. I guess when you owe $7500 to MC/Visa/Am Express et. al it doesn’t mean much, but get ready down below! When this phony-butt paradigm fails you and your family will be selling your collective butts at curbside just to buy your daily “apple”…!
    Then, I’m sure you’ll be thinking about “gay pride” and the “right to choose” etc. ad nauseam ad infinitum…?!:))

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. Steve Horn  June 11, 2007 at 8:46 am

    Catchy subject line, eh? Until the last 1950’s the mainstream attitude was that black men had the strongest sex drives, so we needed laws that would keep “them” from breeding with “us” – we feared the sexuality of African Americas – those laws were overturned allowing for inter-racial marriage – and the fears were proven to be more a whisper than a yell.
    We feard women, because we couldn’t trust the decision process of the “weaker” sex (ignore, for a moment, that in survival situations when deprived of food, water and shelter, that women tend to last longer than men do), we feared their freedom, we feared their ability to make decisions during their menustrual cycles. Womens lib came around – now women are in all levels of management – I work for one – I have no idea what her menstrual cycle is – she’s a great boss – fun to work for – so that “fear” went like a whisper and not a yell.
    Now we’re afraid of Homosexuals – because they’re “less of a man” or some such illogic. Perhaps it’s the Biblical ban on homosexuality, perhaps we’re afraid not of the gay mans sexuality but of our own curiosity regarding it. Not sure –

    My hero’s sang out and stood up for the civil rights of African Americans – those still alive continue to do so. They also stood up for the rights of women and continue to do so. I’ve stood up for the rights of GLBT people, in fact I’ve been the only straight guy standing on stage in defense and support of these folks to live their lives like the Americans they are- deserving of all benefits and protections that the rest of us enjoy.

    We do need pride parades – we need American pride parades – we need to embrace all citizens and become and inclusive socitety. We don’t need to point out our differences, we need to begin to ignore the differences, let ‘em be, allow others the freedom to be different if that’s the way they are, and to get on with our lives as Americans.

    If folks want to dwell on our differences, so be it, embrace them and include them in the massive pride group that should be America.

    By the way – if they point out that you’re wrong to love someone of your own gender or to be a strong woman or to be a strong African American – ask them who, from among the different groups that inhabit American, would their precious Jesus exclude form His congregation? Last time I read the Bible (and it’s been a year or so – but I really don’t think it’s changed much) Christ embraced ALL – (in fact, it was the inclusion of the Gentiles that initially got him in trouble with the elders at the Temple, was it not?).

    As them – whom would Jesus exclude, whom would He toss out into the street? If they try to tell you that you’re lifestyle is wrong – suggest they re-read the Bible and give you passage and verse from the Gospel that excludes anyone.

    Peace

    Steve

  11. revtheodyke  June 11, 2007 at 11:12 am

    As someone who lives in the deep, red, South, I would say, yes, we still need gay pride celebrations. You still need a well honed “gaydar” to find the “family” here in the South, where coming out can cost you not just your job, but often your life.

    We just recently had a gay man killed in Greenville, South Carolina, for simply being gay, so here in my red-neck of the woods, visibility of gay people, even if it’s once a year, is still vital.

    I think folks who live in the big cities get blinders about this. They can be out and it’s no big deal being gay, but there are parts of the country where just being perceived as gay will get you “kilt” as they drawl in these parts.

    The polls are heartening, but we must remember that states are still passing laws against us and whenever the right wing needs a good pander, the feds still trot out the anti-gay marriage amendment to the federal Constitution.

    We need gay pride celebrations until we are no longer anyone’s political or religious football, fundraiser or boogeyman.

    —-
    Whosoever: An Online Magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Christians
    http://www.whosoever.org

  12. Doubtom  June 11, 2007 at 11:35 am

    C’mon, let’s have less pride and more common sense.

    For beginners, let’s develop the requisite courage to refer to that community as what they are, homosexuals. That’s where the battle for acceptance should be, not for some new more acceptable term that they hope will be less offensive. This word substitution is acknowledgement that this community feels it cannot rise above the stigma associated with homosexuallity. That’s easily half the battle.

    The negro went through similar contortions in an attempt to rid himself of the stigma associated with the venal term “nigger”.
    Disguising the real issue is never the best approach. Tackle the real problem instead of appealing for acceptance under a different name.

    Gay? What a totally ridiculous choice of words! What is gay about an almost universal societal revulsion at best and at worst a burning hatred?

  13. revtheodyke  June 11, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Doubtom wrote:

    “That’s where the battle for acceptance should be, not for some new more acceptable term that they hope will be less offensive.”

    Just as the blacks did not dub themselves negros or “niggers” – so gays and lesbians have not termed themselves “homosexuals.” This was a label that was applied to them, so they are not seeking another label that is “less offensive” – just one that is more honest.

    Those who have termed us “homosexual” use the word as a vilification, to dehumanize us and focus on the “sexual” part of the word. If one can get society to focus on “sexual” things – especially the more lurid “sexual” things that such a community is accused of doing universally (which is usually not the case), then you have a good chance of keeping said community marginalized in society and self-loathing within itself.

    The ones who need to deal with the term “homosexual” are not the homosexuals but the bigoted heterosexuals who seeks to use the term to dehumanize an entire community of human beings.

    I can be homosexual without ever have sex. To use the word “homosexual” is to describe the entire community by its sexual activity, which is wrong. Being gay or lesbian is not just about sex, anymore than being heterosexual is. We are human beings, seeking love and companionship with someone of the same gender. That search for companionship is a universal feeling – something every creature on the planet seeks.

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood your point but, the word gay was once used to mean “happy” – it still does.

    Whosoever: An Online Magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Christians
    http://www.whosoever.org

  14. Doubtom  June 13, 2007 at 12:39 am

    You didn’t miss my point , you didn’t GET my point!

    The term homosexual wasn’t created to villify a community but to identify them according to their sexual activity because that is how they differ. Of course you can spend a lifetime being a homosexual without sex and what would that prove? You can be a pilot without flying also but it doesn’t change your identity as a pilot. You needn’t resent the term homosexual so much since it simply describes you, it doesn’t prescribe your action.
    You seem to think you can reinvent the english language just to serve your need. The word gay didn’t just use to mean happy, it still does in my book and has nothing to do with being homosexual.

    It’s the same stigma that attaches to the word atheist. The more sensitive atheists have taken to calling themselves “Freethinkers”, or “Humanists” or Secular Humanists in the hopes of being more acceptable but there’s still one word that defines and therefor describes them and that is atheist. Their battle for acceptance should be as atheists.

    Now do you get my point?

  15. HPRIC  June 11, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    I used to feel the same way, but I have changed my mind. Experiences like the following one are why: Last summer, cuddling (in the same manner as many other straight couples) on a blanket with my sweatheart on the National Mall (a stonesthrow from where Pride festivities are held), enjoying Screen on the Green. Some guy see us – stands up in the middle of the movie – and yells (at the top of his lungs) “GO TO HELL YOU F***ING F*GG**S!!!” and storms off. We felt violated and actually considered ourselves lucky that we were only verbally attacked. What hetero ever has to go through that- simply for being hetero? Sadly, there are very, very few pockets of society where being gay is a non-issue.

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