NOTE: I find it insulting but necessary to clarify the fact that I am not homophobic or anti-gay in any way. It’s absurd that when commenting on something negative in the gay community, one is forced to assume they will be rebuked not based on the quality of their argument, but with claims of bigotry. However, as I find it offensive to defend myself against so unreasonable a claim, I will make the following unpleasantly small.
 
I don’t anything gay people. The only trait shared by all gay people is that they are sexually drawn to people of the same gender. Since I’m not going to have sex with any of them anyway, I am totally uneffected by this. As a result, I have no feelings whatsoever toward gay people as a group.
 
That said, Gay Pride is stupid.
 

Part 1: What Are You Trying To Accomplish?
 
Gay Pride celebrates the anniversary of the June 28, 1969 Stonewall riots. Stonewall still serves as a turning point in the history of gay rights. Before Stonewall, there had been years of slow and steady attempts to repeal unfair laws and policies, but with a sudden return to legally baseless raids on gay bars, New York’s homosexual community exploded with years of pent up rage. This was the first time the media and the U.S. at large realized that gay people might not be content living invisably in the shadows.
 
So what the fuck does a modern pride parade have to do with that?
 
What once served as a national reminder that the homosexual community had found solidarity and courage in one another, is now a parade where a gay guy can tape some balloons and a barbie to his DeSoto and call it a float. It’s insulting to the people who risked their safety in those early marches.
 
Part of the problem is where these parades are happening. Seattle does not need to be reminded that there are gay people. We have Capital Hill and the Seattle Storm. Everyone here knows, and when you look at our voting records, we’re ok with it. Even with the help of evangelical christians, they couldn’t get the measure to repeal our Gay Equal Rights amendment on the ballot! What a great city for tolerance! Which is the problem.
 
Seattle doesn’t need a gay pride parade, and neither does San Francisco or New York. You know who needs a parade? Missoula Montana. Spokane Washington. La Crosse Wisconsin. If the purpose of this parade is to remind the world at large that gay people deserve the same rights and protections as anyone else, then they need to take it to people who need reminding. If the purpose is to promote solidarity, and give closeted gays an idea of the community that can support them if they come out, then take it to the people who don’t live in a city with a gay weekly newspaper*. The anniversay of Stonewall shouldn’t just be Homo Mardi Gras.

 
Part 2: The Language of “Gay” “Pride”


 
No one should be proud of being gay. Nor should anyone be proud of being straight. Or white, or tall, or blue eyed, or Italian, or anything else that is part of how they were born. Being proud of how you were born is lazy. Go do something of merit, then be proud of that. Now, if you want to be proud of being out, I tend to agree. Even in a place as understanding as Seattle, it can be a difficult choice. But we’re not talking about a “People Who Are Comfortable With Themselves” Pride parade.
 
What about Gay? When we first started creating words for sexuality (which didn’t happen until the late 1800’s, until then people just slept with whomever they slept), homosexual was an adjective. You weren’t a homosexual, you were a homosexual man/woman/farmer/steelworker/person. It’s only in the 50’s that people started to use homosexual as a noun. It went from describing an aspect of a person to defining them.
 
What does this have to do with music genres?
 
I’m glad you asked, guy from the About page. It is my opinion that sexuality, like music, should be described rather than categorized. Rather than saying that a song is a Soul song, and therefor not an R&B song, why can’t we say the song has elements of both? I realize it’s less helpful for sorting in a record store, but I don’t especially care. When Johnny Cash plays “I Won’t Back Down”, the term “Country” simply does not accurately or effectively describe the style of music. In similar terms, I know people who are primarily attracted to one gender or the other, but GAY and STRAIGHT are often insufficient terms.
 
Part Conclusion: So What Am I Suggesting?

 

I would love to see the anniversary of Stonewall recognized as a national holiday. Since this is never going to happen, I’ll settle for a concerted effort to refocus the parades and marches in ways that work as a positive force for gay civil rights and acceptance. Bring parades and marches to smaller communities, both to give comfort to any (but especially the young) homosexuals in the area, and to remind the sheltered people that there’s more to gay people than the Faggot-Black-Face of “Queer as Folk” and “Will and Grace”.

 
In broader terms, moving away from gay as primary identifier would probably be healthy and beneficial for everyone in society. Of course, once again, I’m in dream land. In reasonable terms, using the anniversary of Stonewall to focus on gay rights and having a celebration of tolerance and self acceptance on some other date seems the most reasonable way of doing what needs to be done to continue drawing attention to the inequality faced by homosexualists, without ignoring the celebratory aspect. Perhaps they could even burn a giant effigy of society, as represented by a man. They could call it The Man Who Is on Fire Festival.

 
*The Stranger is not technically** a gay newspaper.
 
**It totally is though.