Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The other night I was watching the news when Chelsea Handler said that President Obama has designated June as Gay Pride Month or something. That's all well and good, but I really hope it's put to good use. Like bringing awareness to the topics of whether being gay is a choice, gay marriage, and bullying/violence towards those who are gay. Instead, I fear it will turn into a big excuse to flounce around screaming "You must accept me!" Some people will never like gay people because of the militant attitude so many have in regards to expressing their sexuality. As if acceptance of its existence means a person must also agree with and like it.
Both my boyfriend and I are gay men, but being gay doesn't define us. I feel no need to share my sexual preferences with a complete stranger, and have equally little interest in learning about theirs. But sexuality has saturated our society, and hardly anywhere else more so than in the gay community. I have never cared for the company of gay men because every conversation contained either sexual undertones or overt overtones. Don't even get me started on superficiality. The type of car you drive, shopping at the store "everyone else shops at," what you pay for a haircut, drinking whatever cocktail is fashionable at the moment, all of these things have wormed their way many gay men's brains as something of extreme importance. Many in the gay community are still stuck on the idea that they must have important friends or shiny baubles in order to really be considered someone. But in reality, it's like these guys wearing their pants ridiculously styled below their asses. Their desire to express their individuality remains unmanifest because of the fact that they are behaving the way and doing the things everyone else is doing.
Thankfully with age comes some wisdom, even for us former club kids. At a certain point we've realised that instead of parading the city with topless saggy-tittied lesbians and tweaking twinks in nothing but glittery feathers and chaps, we are happier showing pride by actually living the normal life we ask of society. Many straight people already think we do nothing but have ecstasy parties and seduce their young sons, and for many they're not far off the mark. Unfortunately drugs played their part in my life, but like I said, with age comes wisdom. So going out to the club five times a week becomes five times a year, and some think you weird for it. Or they find it odd that you watch the news, care nothing about who made the shirt you're wearing, or use the computer for something besides porn and hookups.
Atlanta holds the gay pride festival in the fall. I don't usually go, but I may this year. I don't usually go because I can't stand the heat or the crowds. With one of those elements removed I just might be able to tolerate it. I know there will be a fair amount of people there showing their pride in various ways, being seductive, at times down right illegal. But I know there will also be people there who are simply proud to be able to gather in public with their loved one without fear of being judged for their choices. People who are proud of who they are as a whole, not just for being gay. Proud of even just being able to express the fact that we are gay. Instead of the current motto, "We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!" I would like to suggest something less abrasive. Something like, "We're gay. So what?" Adopt the attitude that we are as normal as everyone else, not try to express how unlike everyone we can be.
I'm proud of myself in a basic sort of way. I've made some bad choices, but who hasn't? I haven't killed anyone and I'm not a pedophile, so I'm doing pretty well there. But I will say this, after having been gay my entire life, and having been to the bars, then the clubs, attended social groups, been on committees, one thing I've never really felt is a pride in being gay. It's not about being a prude, which I'm certainly not, but I just think the community has a long way to go in accepting who we are as human beings, and also in accepting the differences among ourselves. Going even further, in accepting the straight community for who they are, while lobbying for changing laws that suppress equality.
Well, now I've gotten the whole "I'm gay" thing out of the way, and believe me it's not something I'll drone on about. Yes, I have a partner of three and a half years, and it's the best thing that's ever happened to me. Yes, my past is rich with partying and much gayness, but I'm 41 now and my life is so much richer than ever before. As I mentioned, I have been gay my entire life, but I am so much more, and I much prefer to be judged in the same manner I judge those I encounter in my life... by the shoes I wear.
Coming Soon... Alcoholics Anonymous, Shmalcoholics Anonymous!
UPDATE: I did attend the Atlanta Pride parade. It was nice, not hot, and not super crowded. It was a nice day with my boyfriend and our friend Z.