Friday, June 26, 2009

The Gay Pride Charade

by Pistol Pete

I regret the fact that I am young enough that I only know the bastardized version of Gay Pride.

The golden age of the real pride of the 70’s and 80’s seems a lifetime away from the shallow, commercialized sex fest we have today. I mean, getting drunk and rowdy can be fun and all, but should this event stand as the crux of the LGBT movement? I mean really guys, haven’t we strayed just a bit far from the political roots of our forbearers?

I want to be clear that I believe this is a generational problem, not so much a gay problem; and that it’s not everyone in my age group, but simply a careening trend of apathy and self-absorption. I’ll be the first to admit that I loathe my Paris Hilton-loving, money-obsessed, politically-indifferent, self-entitled peers whose deal-breakers are related to body fat percentage, waist and dick size, but curiously not IQ or personality. Call me old fashioned, but I long for the time when people actually gave a shit about each other: when drag queens and trannies led the Stonewall Riots and beat the snot out of an abusive New York City police force, or when angry gay men and women took to the streets to protest an apathetic government response to the AIDS crisis. There was a real sense of community and support amongst LGBT’s, something that is rather absent today.

The gay prides of today feature naked dancing men, corporate floats, political candidates, and the remnants of the gay prides of yester year – HIV/AIDS and LGBT organizations. It’s a cesspool of lascivious activity and highlights all the worst of American society. I know I sound like a crotchety old man, and I wouldn’t particularly care about all that if the 500,000 people that congregate in Boystown would actually do something useful first and then get on to the debauchery, but I know that’s asking too much. Tell them many of the corporations that support the Pride Parade also donate to anti-gay causes, remind them that all those politicians passed a state budget that cut funding to HIV/AIDS services by 50% or more (we still don’t know the final damage, but it is bad), and all you’ll get is a shoulder shrug and a flippant response that Gay Pride is about fun, not politics. God, GET A FUCKING CLUE!

I don’t know what it will take to get my generation to wake up. Perhaps they think that homophobia is dead, or that constantly getting laid will really bring them happiness, or maybe they don’t believe they have any power to change things. But the facts remain: in 2009 we do not have domestic partnerships, civil unions or gay marriage at a federal level; in fact, more than 35 states have gay marriage bans. We do not have an Employee Non-Discrimination Act that includes sexual orientation or gender identity, and we’re still seeing alarming rates of HIV infections among gay men. Indifference I can comprehend, but this generation has a death wish.

I fear what the future of the LGBT movement will look like if the young folks won’t lift a finger except to down their Cosmo. The occasional bout with helplessness, hopelessness, or carelessness is understandable – we are, after all, human beings who are discriminated against every day of our lives. But if we don’t stand up and take ownership of our lives, if we don’t fight for equality and respect, nothing will change – either inside our community or in society at large.


  1. I am similarly dissatisfied with way younger generations of gays look at Pride. I think there are a lot of folks out there each year that have no idea what the parade commemorates, how it began, what it has meant throughout the years. I've been terribly frustrated repeatedly with the apathy that exists in the gay community.

    That is why it is important that people who do realize the historic significance of pride be vocal. It isn't enough to rant about how people behave. It's telling someone "Forty years ago today, cops busted a gay bar in New York City and the patrons of that bar stood up for their rights."

    So yes, you are right, a lot of people act beyond ridiculous each final Sunday of June. And while ignorance is no excuse, neither is the lack of communication about these topics in our community.

    You can't change the world by expressing your anger. You can change a lot though by helping to educate your peers.

  2. A lot of us young folks...who know no other type of Pride Parade...use this weekend as our Extended Gay Family Reunion. Within the oversexed commercial grandiosity, we reunite in shared intoxication. No organizing or deep thoughts but lots of love, hugs, and friends/family.

    But, while the rest of us share our day with the wider community, despite the precarious circumstances that a capitalist system brings...we will be out in the streets sharing positive energy openly.

    I'm happy to live in a large city where this kind of thing is even occurring. Leave the deep thoughts and self hate for the other 364 days of the year.

    Have fun with your dark clouds and rage. Keep sippin' that hate-o-rade.


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