Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Politics of In-Your-Face Pride ...OOOH! Half-Naked Men and...

Completely Naked Truths, Compassion, and Humanity!

I'm blogging here while fireworks are going off in the night sky. It's Pink Saturday in San Francisco and a time for revelry, but not for me. I don't mind, because I'm here with whoever is reading this.

I remember one Gay Pride Parade - I was in it, on a float with about 10 hunky(er) men. We were the last float (the last float was always the one with the loudest/best music to dance to all the way down to the Civic Center) and we passed by what looked to me like a group of Stepford Wives. They were shouting that we were so very sinful and going to hell. That was when I realized that the vehemence of their shouts were meant not at our gayness ...but at our maleness. They were, in a word, jealous. The testosterone from the float would have made anyone swoon, but these guys weren't attracted to them. Their femaleness was being openly offended.

There's a certain kind of glee to be gotten from in-your-face pride. I'll admit that. But there's a certain amount of political posturing going on as well. I'll admit that too. To strut with a sign that says, "I'm Here. I'm Queer. Get Used To It." means that you are willing to take a bold stance against something.
Unfortunately, that "something" is (these days) a segment of Christianity. The dark portion, if you will. You know, when gays started coming out of their closets in the 70s, many of them thought, "If they can just see us for the good human beings we are, then everything will be O.K." WRONG!! The more we started coming out of the closet, the more we were vilified by "Christians". Then the Age of AIDS came along and gave some people more ammunition for hatred. Sad: what could have been Christianity's shining hour turned out to be it's darkest years. People died in the streets. People danced in the streets. People were thrown out of their homes while they were sick and dying and Christian mentors were shouting approval. The first faith-based AIDS agency outside of San Francisco was the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles - 6 years after the outbreak. 65,000 people had already died. And it took real courage for the LA diocese to help AIDS victims. The churches of the Southern Baptist Convention still do not sponsor any AIDS agencies (outside of Africa, of course). Twenty-five years later, and some people still think you can get AIDS from a toilet seat. Uninformed? Sadly, no. They're just that stupid. They trusted people like Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms. I'm sure that some people of Orlando, FLA are still waiting for a meteor to strike them because Disney World sponsored a Gay Day - Pat Robertson said so!!

So where does my pride come from? It comes from all of those truly compassionate people who gave their time, their efforts, their money and their very lives to helping all of the AIDS victims while few others would. I'm proud of being gay because of them. I'm especially proud of San Francisco, the city that sprouted about 60 different AIDS agencies within a meager two years!

I'm Proud. I'm Loud. Get Over It!

I culled some pictures from several past Pride Parades. Yes, I love the gratuitous naked men, but I hope you'll find something else besides sex: the joy of loving everyone while loving yourself.

I think the best part of the SF Gay Pride parade is the Christofascist protesters: they look so silly with their badly spelled (or just bad grammar) makeshift signs, wondering if they're going to get killed by almost one million people. The joke is soooo on them: even for bigots, this is probably the safest place to be. If there's violence, honey, don't blame us!

Here are some Christofascists and The One...The Only...Fred Phelps!

Separated at Birth?

Oh, the inhumanity of it all.
What a waste.