Friday, June 09, 2006

Reflections on Pride

This weekend I'm going to be taking part in the festivities of Philly Gay Pride such as the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade and Festival (which will be held at the Great Plaza section of Penns Landing, the first it's been there since 1999). Anyhow I'd like to take the to reflect on the state of Gay America.

I do like taking part in Gay Pride every June, it can be so uplifting. But it doesn't come enough for me. It's a couple of days away and I feel so depressed and alienated right now (no thanks in part to the Pennsylvania State House passing the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment earlier this week), and in a few days after Pride I'll still feel depressed and alienated. Just having a march down Chestnut Street once every years is not enough for me for sustain my self-esteem as a gay man living in a society that considers me less than human.

Self-esteem seems to be at an all-time low for gay men these days. So many are engaging in self-destructive behavior. Taking crystal meth. Knowingly having "bareback" (unsafe) sex when they have the info and the smarts not to do that. Thinking that Eminem, a rapper who writes viciously anti-gay lyrics, is "cute" and "sexy" and is "an artist." The homophobic right-wing culture in this country keeping egging this self-destructiveness on. There has to be way for this to stop since I don't think that this is necessary. It's sort of like when slavery was running in the South; at the time people were convincing themselves that it was the only way to run the culture. Which is bullshit. Chewing up a major portion of the population in order for a few people like Rick Santorum to feel special and entitled is just not necessary.

I remember when I was first coming out around 1989-1990, direct-action groups like ACT-UP and Queer Nation were at their peak. They were kicking homophobic ass and they weren't afraid to stir shit up. Fighting for dignity and for a cure. They weren't going to be passive tragic little victims anymore like they were a few years earlier when AIDS first came onto the scene. I found them to be so inspiring.

I look at the current state of gay politics and I can't find anything like that. It's like what Susie Bright once described as "continued celebrity-valorization without any actual leaders emerging." All too willing to compromise in order to get a few crumbs. Like when Democratic leader Howard Dean went on the the Religious Right TV show The 700 Club and stated that marriage ought to be between one man and one woman, no gays or lesbians need apply. Well gay Democratics started making excuses for Dean, starting to sound just like those pathetic Log Cabin Republicans trying to convince themselves and others that the GOP isn't really so bad. It's politics as Looking For The Good Straight Father once again, when what we ought to be doing is realizing that there's no such creature to help protect us gay people. We ought to take a page out of Sylvia Plath and say "Fuck you Daddy" once in a while when politicans fail to stand up for us.

I want to know where has my Queer Nation gone? All I see in the contemporary mainstream gay movement are timid boring Mattachine people. I want another Stonewall rebellion, where people come out of the closets and into the streets. I hope that will happen in my lifetime.

In the meantime, have a Happy and Safe Gay Pride.


Blogger Maidink said...

I keep forgetting this is Gay Pride Month. I'd go to the fest, but I'd being going solo. I pray the weather is nice for you.

10:32 AM  
Blogger The Divine Ms. Jimmi said...

Amen to that, babe! Where the fuck are the angry queers!? Where is Queer Nation? We ARE the Queer Nation--we need to get out there!

10:25 AM  

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