Do Pride rallies do more harm than good?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 13, 2007 2:42 PM GMT
    I think that healing inner shame is an important step in coming out. But I don't relate to what goes on at Pride rallies. They have nothing to do with my image of myself as a man or as a gay man. And I think they might be counterproductive because they reinforce a stereotype of what it means to be gay. It could be compare to having a parade focused on Amos 'n Andy lookalikes during the height of the civil rights movement--rather than show the positive, it would simply cement the negative.

    I have heard it said that it's a gay Mardi Gras. Do gays need a Mardi Gras? I'm all for Mardi Gras, but why not just join up with the straight one? Everyone needs to blow off steam, but why have a separate parade? If the goal of Pride is to celebrate freedom and sexuality, then we should do it together with the straights on Mardi Gras and not have a separate holiday--we don't need a gay Kwanzaa.

    I believe most of the gay world lives in normal, traditional relationships. I think most gay men are men first. I think Pride day should be spent at a sports bar watching ESPN. I don't want people to think that gays are all thong-wearing, Gwen Stefani wig-wearing dolls--we aren't! We're guys just like every other guy.

    I want to have the right to marry and adopt children. There is almost nothing at Pride rallies which supports my values. Or did I miss the mongamy booth and the lifelong relationship float? I suspect most gays have the same kind of traditional values I have, but we're not represented at these rallies.

    I don't think these rallies are helping us get marriage legalized--in fact, they are working against us. People who vote on gay marriage have the image of these rallies in their minds, and not the gay couple who spend their Sundays watching the NFL with their buddies. Rallies reinforce a negative stereotype of what in means to be gay which loses us the votes we need.

    I am a supporter of amnesty for undocumented workers. But I have to admit that the large rallies where they wave Mexican flags does more harm than good. If you respond negatively to the the rallies and parades of undocumented workers, and are less inclined than before to give them rights after seeing their rallies, then remember: that's how the world sees Pride.

    Pride is not a requirement of being gay any more than Christmas is a requirement of being American. Celebrate it if you want, but don't get mad at gay men like me who think there are better ways to improve gay life for everyone.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Jun 13, 2007 3:36 PM GMT
    YAWN!

    Is this today's 'I hate other Gays' topic Skipm?

    Haven't you got anything better to do (you could try exercising, it's good for you)?

    Loz
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    Jun 13, 2007 3:44 PM GMT
    Sorry but how are YOU going to improve gay life? By sitting in a sports bar watching ESPN?

    Pride is essential. It's a way showing our visibility, our 'normalness' and it is only through public demonstration that we show people that we are here and not going away any time soon.

    And it's PRIDE. We are proud of who were are. why shouldn't we march? How is it any different from St Patrick's Day parades?
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    Jun 13, 2007 3:55 PM GMT
    Actually, I think if more gays sat in sports bars watching ESPN, we'd be a lot further along in terms of acceptance. Being gay doesn't mean being exotic or wierd--it's just being a guy who likes guys. That's not wierd--that's part of nature, like guys hating to shop and not asking for directions.
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    Jun 13, 2007 4:07 PM GMT
    Wow, I totally disagree.

    In my opinion, Pride parades show off the diverse sub groups within the LGBT community.

    In the Seattle parade this year, there are gay dads and their children marching, AIDS Alliance groups, politicians both gay and straight, businesses/corporations like Microsoft and Boeing, firefighters/police, LGBT youth groups, gay sports teams and even straight groups that support our community.

    Yes there will also be go-go boys, dykes on bikes, leather groups, bears, floats from various gay establishments, drag queens, etc.

    I live in the gay community here in Seattle. I accept all of it. I may not belong to every sub group withing our community, but we all have a right to be here and we also have every right to not attend the parade.

    I am very involved in our community and have met many different kinds of people within our community. We're all just trying to live our lives and be who we are without being told it's wrong.

    By coming together we lead by example, showing people that we can come together, even though we are different and still do something and have a good time.

    Look at what's happening with the Pride parades in Russia, Sao Paulo, Romania, etc. They're having a huge impact.



  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Jun 13, 2007 4:14 PM GMT
    Exactly Jorel

    We are so lucky to be able to march and show we exist.

    In other countries we would be thrown in prison, or worse, for going on a LGBT Pride march.

    We should be proud to be fabulous Gay people, not hiding away in the shadows afraid of offending anyone.

    Lozx
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    Jun 13, 2007 4:23 PM GMT
    Although it might sound corny, the pride flag is supposed to represent diversity. By staying away from Pride rallies, parades, etc., all you do is keep your own gay stripe in the flag from being recognised.

    If you are missing the traditional values, regular guy, float why don't you make one?

    Don't blame people who want to celebrate and enjoy and yes, flaunt being gay in all the many forms being gay can take.

    Please, be happy with yourself and allow others the same courtesy.







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    Jun 13, 2007 4:44 PM GMT
    Hmm... I'm imagining a float covered with stained carpeting, a couple of couches, a la-z-boy recliner, maybe an odd lamp on an apple crate, and a TV. A few guys are sitting around drinking beer, and watching a football game on the TV.

    I dunno... it lacks something. Maybe a barbeque grill.
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    Jun 13, 2007 4:45 PM GMT
    I'm glad you all get something out of it, but it has nothing to do with my being gay. I don't connect being gay with what goes on in those rallies. It's like Oktoberfest or a Renaissance festival--I mean, great, if that's what you want to do, but it's not something that I relate to. Huzzah for you.

    The only part I resent is the fact that part of my coming out means I have to sign on to Pride rallies. That's like saying Germans have to go to Oktoberfest or African-Americans have to celebrate Kwanzaa. Some people see those things as part of their heritage--just as many see them as reinforcements of a stereotype which they don't relate to.

    Being gay doesn't mean having to make Pride rallies part of your life. If doing the Jack McFarland/RuPaul/Lance Bass thing and reinforcing stereotypes is your gig, go for it.

    But I think it takes more courage to establish your gay identity outside of Pride rallies. I'd rather be my slobby guy self than a gay stereotype.
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    Jun 13, 2007 5:20 PM GMT
    "...Rallies reinforce a negative stereotype of what in means to be gay which loses us the votes we need..."

    and

    "...I think that healing inner shame is an important step in coming out...."

    skipm feels inner shame, and engages in stereotyping as well as any homophobe does, IMHO.

    As in every other thread that skipm initiates, his posts always include unprovable assertions that betray his own prejudices. Note how often skipm uses uncheckable sources and observations such as "...I've heard it said that..." etc.

    He did that consistently and repeatedly in the Open Relationships thread. And he's continuing now.

    It's not that someone can't say such a thing, but it's getting obvious, as other people have pointed out, that skipm is simply what used to be called a "shit disturber." He's just trying to rile people up by making undocumented assertions...in order to mask his own prejudices.

    The fact of the matter is that even if Gay Pride parades only included somber looking floats, and ranks of bands...in other words your typical 4th of July Parade...skipm wouldn't like that simply because of the attention drawn to gay people and the issues that we face in this society.

    An additional fact is that Gay Pride parades were meant originally to let the world know that we are here as a group, and that the world needs to deal with that.

    That said...the over-commercialization, the ultra-long parades, the lack of internal discipline and organization evident in the SF Pride Parade has made it a boring thing for me. But that doesn't undercut the concept and its importance.

    Like all "celebrations" of this type, the Gay Pride Parades will eventually fade in importance...in the way that "Columbus Day Parades" are becoming a thing of the past.

    skipm betrays his total lack of understanding of what the Gay Pride parade/celebration means and has meant...particularly obvious when he lumps it with Mardi Gras, which is a last hurrah before the Catholic "Lent."

    This also shows he does not understand the historical basis for Mardi Gras..using the current stereotype that it is a free-for-all.



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    Jun 13, 2007 5:21 PM GMT
    skjpm, great post. I couldn't agree more. Pride reduces us to a carnival sideshow. When I lived in LA, they'd broadcast the Pride parade on TV...so everyone could watch the freakshow. While it may be fun and entertaining, we, as gay people, shouldn't be reduced, much less reduce ourselves, to a spectacle.

    I've given Pride a chance, but I never really felt it was my scene, nor do I feel that it effectively communicates to society at large what it means to be gay (in my mind). If being gay is about drag, steroid muscle boys on floats, excessive drinking and drugging, "girl", "bitch", etc., then Pride pretty much captures it all.

    In my mind Pride runs the gamut from adolescent (and fun) to offensive. We say we want equal rights and privileges, so what better way to get them than dressing up like a pregnant nun? That will ensure that all the straights rally around our cause! Sheesh! I'm tired of the "I'm gay, it's my life, screw you" attitude.

    The sentiments behind Pride - being proud of who you are, etc - are good. But do we really need a freakshow parade to simply reinforce all the negative stereotypes people have? I'd rather see gay men show "pride" by being faithful to their partners, by being honest, by treating each other with respect, and by not reducing themselves to little more than parody. Trouble is, our community doesn't want to grow up, so it's no wonder people defend Pride.

    Anyway, kudos to you for wanting more for us as a community.
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Jun 13, 2007 5:28 PM GMT
    Pride, the sentiments are good but it looks like afreak show and does nothing but reinforce stereotypes of camp mincing queens, cross dressing, casual sex etc

    I find them embarrassing and make me embarrassedto be gay.

    They raise awareness of Gay issues yes, but in an out and proud in your face, loud, stereotypical way, which can cause knee jerk reactions in people and can do more harm than good.

    I dont relate to them at all. I detest them. I cannot identify with the "gay man" as presented in gay pride and their stereotypes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 13, 2007 5:32 PM GMT
    Gay Pride is the gay equivalent of Kwanzaa: for some it's a celebration of their heritage--for others, it's a made-up holiday, a waste of time which simply provides punchlines for late-night comedians. You decide.

    I'm not a "shit disturber." Realjock exists because there is a dissatisfaction among the gay community with the typical gay sites and venues. There are a lot of gays who want to sit at a sports bar and watch ESPN. If you're so happy with the default gay community, why do you hang out at Realjock?

    Let's celebrate Pride Month at Realjock the way that "real jocks" do--let's ignore it, or make fun of it.
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    Jun 13, 2007 5:36 PM GMT
    I know this is off topic, but why does being a stereotypical gay person offend you so much? They're being who they are.

    The pressure you're feeling to attend a parade is coming only from you. You are not any less gay just because you choose not to attend. It's your choice.

    Just try to understand that there are good reasons to attend these types of events. Just because it isn't for you, doesn't make it a bad thing.
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    Jun 13, 2007 5:48 PM GMT
    jorel1, I don't think skjpm feels "pressure" to attend a parade. From reading his post, I get the impression that he feels very much the way I, and many other gay men, do: that Pride sends a message to society at large that being gay is simply a big party. How are people supposed to take us seriously when we present ourselves in such a manner? How do we ask for equal rights, marriage rights, etc., when Pride makes us look like a bunch of out-of-control adolescent boys?

    Pride showcases one aspect of the gay community. It does not capture the gay community at large. In fact, I'd wager that there are more gay guys out there who are embarrassed by Pride than in support of it. The trouble is, Pride is a powerful cultural force. When the straights in middle America turn on their TVs and see the Pride parade, that's their image of what it means to be gay. And a lot of them don't like what they see. Heck, I'm gay and I don't like what I see.

    I very much relate to skjpm's desire to see gay men accepted as normal human beings watching a game at a sports bar. The only way we're going to get there, though, is to *BE* just that, to show the world that we're not all a bunch of queens gyrating to some has-been disco diva on our fabulous big gay floats.
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    Jun 13, 2007 5:55 PM GMT
    While pride rallies celebrate the diversity of the gay / bi / tran community, they do leave an impression that gays are freaks, weirdos, and dysfunction, overcome by fetish and promiscuity.

    What is a better service to the gay community is to be honest about your sexuality. E.g. pictureless / profileless do the gay community a huge disservice because they live of life of deceit shame, and low esteem, without showing America that's lots of gay folk are just gay, but not flakely.

    When someone comes forth with self-confidence, integrity, and class, it breaks down all the barriers. Pictureless, and their like, only reinforce negative views of alternate lifestyles.

    Being bi is only but a small part of my life. I'm happy with it, and I've been comfortable with it for decades. The words "discreet", "not out", "married", "haven't had time to upload a picture", all indicate to me a person of low-esteem, low integrity, and perhaps self-loathing, and religiously conflicted. Folks, it's 2007, and there's 6.6 BILLION people in the world. If someone makes a big deal about what you stick in your behind, get rid of them. They're replaceable. The whole self-involved, self-pity, thing of running around in hiding is mental illness, no doubt about it. I pity those folks, and won't have a thing to do with them because I refuse to be an enabler to their mental illness. Coddling a problem only makes it worse. Low esteem, and playing the poor gay victim is a MAJOR turn off to me. I like to be around positive thinking people, with integrity, that lead by example and that like themselves.

    Gay pride rallies give America a distorted view of the populous. Gay / bi folks are everywhere, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. It just is. Everyone would do gay culture a big service by throwing in some self-esteem and integrity. Gay rallies, fine, but, leadership by example is worth so much more. Smile, put your face on, and plunge forward. Every day is a new day and living a life of torment and deceit is beyond moronic.
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    Jun 13, 2007 6:02 PM GMT
    Pride is a lot more than drag queens, oiled up hunks, and leather men. There a gay doctors, police, ASOs, fraternities, politicians, and more. Each group celebrating their own special part in the gay community.

    I am happy it is such a diverse celebration.

    I'm sensing a bit of self loathing in some of these posts. A bit of "guilt by association" and, perhaps, a wish for a return to the pre stonewall days of hiding in a closet.

    Pretty sad.
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    Jun 13, 2007 6:07 PM GMT
    "...a wish for a return to the pre stonewall days of hiding in a closet."

    I haven't seen a single post that expresses this sentiment. If anything, some of the posts are expressing a desire for gay people to be viewed as normal, everyday members of society who don't need a freakshow parade to feel better about who they are.
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    Jun 13, 2007 6:11 PM GMT
    Why in God's name are some so hung up on being perceived as or accepted as normal? God!

    "You laugh because I'm different, I laugh because you're all the same."

    Don't know who said it, but it's very wise.

    Let your freak flag fly.
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    Jun 13, 2007 6:11 PM GMT
    We had the pride rally in Philly this weekend and it most certainly defied stereotypes and reinforced diversity in the community. This was also an occassion to learn about the history of the community, organizations that support and businesses that go out of their way to embrace everybody. And I do love my drag queens and buff men in swim suits; I envy their confidence and dedication to what they do. It takes a lot of hard work to be a drag queen or that hot buff guy in the swim -suit!

    Stereotyping is typically initiated by individuals [both gay and straight] who lack active and prolonged involvement in the LGBT community.

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    Jun 13, 2007 6:22 PM GMT
    Know whut? I think they should eliminate Super Bowl and I'm sooooooo glad Katrina warshed Norleans into the ocean so Mardi Gras is a pathetic shadow of itself.

    I just git so sick of seeing them heteroseckshuls drunk and shakin their titties in my face at things like Mardi Gras. It has completely colored my opinion of straight people. I believe they must all be promiscuous party people. Why cain't they just sit in a sports bar and keep their tits and dicks covered up like normal people do, or should do, like I do because it's a much better example to not be seen, know what I'm sayin'?

    Oh sure, I hear there are plenty of non-flamboyant hetros at Super Bowl parties and Mardi Gras, but the media just keeps focusing on the straight freaks. Well, they certainly don't represent my mama or diddy and it mortifies me that people think that, being the child of hetroseckshuls, I am the son of bead-wearing, genital-flashin' pervs. My mama ain't never shown her tits at Mardi Gras and my pappy never went to a strip club, but just because of the way the rest of yer parents ack, people think my parents are freaks too.

    I don't know how hetros will ever be taken serious as long as they go to wild parties, fuck in their cars and so forth. Hell, even when they git married, only 50 percent of 'em can makeds a lasting commitment and you know perfectly well its becuz they cain't keep themself from fuckin' everthang that walks by.

    Just last week, I seen some big-assed hetro woman in spandex wif her hair all fucked up like Barbie with bed head and I jes kept thinking: BITCH, YOU ARE MAKIN' MY MAMA LOOK BAD!!

    Well, OK, I think it's fine if some straight people get something of value out of this shit but it sure isn't helping them get the respect they claim to want. Know what I'm sayin? Huh? Do you?
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    Jun 13, 2007 6:23 PM GMT
    "Stereotyping is typically initiated by individuals [both gay and straight] who lack active and prolonged involvement in the LGBT community."

    Perhaps because the community does not address their needs, nor represent them? Perhaps because the community makes them feel like they must compromise their values and beliefs to be part of it?
  • DenveRyk

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    Jun 13, 2007 6:26 PM GMT
    "The only part I resent is the fact that part of my coming out means I have to sign on to Pride rallies"

    I'm sorry...you have to sign on??? Where the heck did you get that idea? Again, as someone else pointed out, the only pressure in this matter is coming from within. No one HAS to do anything with regards to Pride. If you want to sit around and have a few brews while watching ESPN, knock yourself out--just don't complain later that guys don't like fat, beer-bellied guys and you are being rejected.

    Pride isn't perfect, but it is a celebration of the diversity of our community, as many here have pointed out--not just the "freakshow" elements (a very offensive term), but all the "normal" ( an even more offensive term) elements that make up our community.

    I, for one, have no desire to be seen or accepted as "NORMAL" I would rather slit my wrists that identify with that stereotype. I revel in my differentness, my queerness, and if you don't like it, sit on your can at the bar, watching your over-paid straight homophobes play sports, knowing that many of them have made statements about who you are--and they ain't pretty statements.
  • DenveRyk

    Posts: 167

    Jun 13, 2007 6:31 PM GMT
    Obscenewish--that last post was fantastic!! Can't stop laughing! You should get a prize for creativity. And it is all true, on top of being funny.
    ryk
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    Jun 13, 2007 6:35 PM GMT
    "...I'm sensing a bit of self loathing in some of these posts. A bit of "guilt by association" and, perhaps, a wish for a return to the pre stonewall days of hiding in a closet..."

    That's exactly what I sense in skipm's posts.

    Let me be clear...I also do not think that some of the "floats" I've seen in the SF Gay Pride parade serve the notion that gay people are serious in their fight for equal rights. It's even worse at the Folsom St. Fair and Dore Alley, in which guys are walking around with their pants down with hard ons showing, or are giving each other blow jobs in public.

    I agree those things create revulsion in the external community, and, frankly, some of the things I have seen are pretty disgusting. That's what I meant by lack of discipline/organization. There should be clear limits...even if those are broader than that which society outside of the gay world would like. But that doesn't mean that these celebrations can't and do serve a useful purpose.

    Frankly, I don't read skipm's problems with Gay Pride celebrations in these posts as centering on just the objectional (to some) aspects. I read mentioning that as an excuse...that he really is upset about anything, ANYTHING that directs some attention to the gay community and the issue of gay rights...except in the narrow way that he wants to define them....including wanting the "straight model" of doing things.

    Finally, he's done it again in having an uprovable assertion...

    "...Realjock exists because there is a dissatisfaction among the gay community with the typical gay sites and venues. ...."

    That is why I came to RealJock. RealJock exists for guys who are actively athletic seeking to meet/chat with/share ideas with other similar guys. The logo says it all: RealJock--Gay Fitness Community. It serves that need. It does not exist as a reaction to the other sites whose purposes are different. It's purpose is proactive, not reactive.

    See, this is the big caution flag I have about people who use this technique to stir things up. Even when I agree with what such a person has to say, that person attempts to create the illusion that there are these opinions out there somewhere widely shared...but what he is really saying is that HE believes these things....these are his hangups, stereotypes. (Yes, I know some of you share his opinion...but my point is his assertion that these things are generally proven or accepted...that's not the case).