Gay Pride Visibility

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 06, 2007 1:07 AM GMT
    Okay, so Gay Pride is happening in lots of places around the world... the local paper here in Vancouver (just about the most liberal place for gays short of Amsterdam) posted today's parade photos here:

    Now, my question is... are these mostly creepy? I don't want to sound self-hating or prejudice, but I always hate the fact that this is the face of the gay community that the straight community always sees.. it's not representative, pride is a circus (quite literally: people dressed in makeup and costumes, performing, not real life).
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    Aug 06, 2007 1:14 AM GMT
    Just FYI.. the third pic, older guy in wheelchair with flag and beads. that's Vancouver's mayor Sam Sullivan. Not gay, just out with the constituents (distracts from the current garbage strike).
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    Aug 06, 2007 7:33 AM GMT
    They're just having fun. Straight people who have an issue are going to have an issue no matter who the characters are or how they look. Oh sure, they point to the extreme characters at gay pride events, but if the extreme characters weren't there, they would point to something else.

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    Aug 06, 2007 8:20 AM GMT
    Of course the extreme people will get the attention of the media but there was a lot more on that pride:
    - a boat with young people that wanted attention for there problem that there is no place for them where they can meet safely without being anyoed by older men.
    -boats that protest against de upcoming gayviolence and intolerance.
    -a boat with straigh people that wanted to show there solidarity, a boat with mental handicapt homosexuales.

    Fact is that the gay's that where partying and dressed up "extreme" where not more extravagant then the hetero's that joined "summercarnavel" a few weeks earlier:

    Here are some pics so you can see that the most boats where almost boaring: [IMG][/IMG]

    It was just a good pride, with 350.000 visitors
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    Aug 06, 2007 8:23 AM GMT
    sorry the pics didn't show immediatly;wrong code.
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    Aug 06, 2007 9:03 AM GMT
    whats the diffr to for instance the berlin dance parade(a st8 affair)
    or the various carnivals around the world
    and creepy ?
    no i dont think so

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    Aug 06, 2007 8:16 PM GMT
    This is exactly the reason I don't like the concept of gay "pride".

    It's not pride at all. It's marti gras, a big party. It has NOTHING to do with dignity and equality, any more than New Orleans' Southern Decadence festivities promote Southern hospitality.

    When the unenlightened straight people turn on their TVs, or open their newspapers, they don't see respectable people demonstrating that they, too, are responsible members of a broader community. They see a huge, loud party.

    You aren't self hating or prejudice for finding pride events akin to circuses. You're just likely among a small minority of gay people who probably hold themselves to a higher and more dignified standard. I, for one, find your comments worthy of a salute.
  • liftordie

    Posts: 823

    Aug 06, 2007 8:34 PM GMT
    gay pride to me is walking through a casino holding my date or bfs hand. not for attention as much just to show we dont all live in the village and skip to work. we are the type u would never suspect if u saw us at the gym or the mall by ourselves that we love men!! pride to me is just expressing who u are each and every day in the things you do and how u interact with others. gay and straight. i dont need a parade to show i am a happy proud homo !!!
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 06, 2007 9:42 PM GMT
    I have only been to one gay pride parade (in Oslo, June 2007), which was enjoyable and notably relaxed. It consisted of floats connected with specific LGBT and LGBT support organizations as well as floats from most of the major political parties.

    The poor weather may have had a hand in reducing the rambunctuousness, as there were few shirtless persons (who seem to get the camera focus in other parades). The organizations varied, and I'll include a brief list:
    - Helseutvalget, the main gay health organization in Norway
    - SMIA, one of the main S&M groups (their float was the most naughty as it included the spanking of a man dressed in a suit with his pants down)
    - Queer Youth, a national support group for gay youth
    - Blitz, a radical anti-establishment group that supports LGBT persons and help "police" Oslo against Neo-Nazis
    - Gay Children, which I presumed were young children who are known to be gay (I don't know how)
    - Free Church, a Norw. equivalent to the Unitarian Church (I think)
    - all of the major political parties with the exception of the Christian Democrats and the Progressive Party (populist anti-immigrant party)

    The "pride" portion of the parade was simply the issue of visibility; we are a potentially invisible (presumed) minority and the parade is an opportunity to remind the rest of society that we exist and that we participate in all aspects of society. That the various media pick and choose sensational images for their stories is the fault of sensationalist media, not the fault of extroverted / flamboyant LGBT persons.

    /rant on

    To me, it is not an issue of dignity, it is about saying "hey, we're here!" and demanding attention for ourselves and our causes; our struggle for being accepted as equal human beings is on-going and will remain so for many years to come. I'd recommend reading up on the violence suffered by LGBT persons trying to organize parades and other public appearances in Russia, Latvia, and Poland (where the government this spring forbade the discussion of all and anything gay in school).

    Hell, many of the flamboyant gays take on punches and risk being targeted for anti-gay reprisals; they line up as sacrifices for hate-vs-gays in a way most of us do not.

    If you think the parades need to be fixed to give a more palatable picture of gays, then get to it; organize yourself and arrange for a float and stop bitching against those who work for you to be recognized as full human beings.

    ~ that the people who work on the parade also want to make a gay Mardi Gras is their perogative (this is one of the few moments I'll be Libertarian); they put in the work, after all

    /rant over
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    Aug 06, 2007 9:57 PM GMT
    I'm going to refrain from additional responses, because I feel like I've been excessively negative in tone in some of my recent posts on here. For this, I appologize.

    Suffice it to say that some of us don't believe in floats and parades. I don't think it's fair to accuse us of bitching just for voicing a dissenting opinion, nor do I think parade organizers have ever done anything productive for me personally. On the contrary, I feel downright embarassed by the lack of dignity, and have often had to invest energy in explaining to many heterosexual acquaintences that "not all gay people are like that."

    Visibility is not a virtue to those who aspire to trivialize our sexual orientation, rather than make it a big spectacle. Spectacles polarize people. There is nothing educational about it.
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    Aug 06, 2007 11:09 PM GMT
    I am actually torn..I can see the points of both camps here...

    Just because someone thinks a certain sub group (such as drag queens, transexuals/transgenders, party boys, porno actors) are not presenting a "flattering" image of all of us gay people, does not mean they do not have the right to be proud and march....

    Democratic society is not a "tyranny of the majority" but rather an egalitarian society. And in an egalitarain society, the person sitting next to you, who is different from you, who you consider "unflattering", has just as much right as you do. You don't have to like him, but he has the same right to be as visible as he chooses as you do...

    However, and I can only speak about the New York City gay Pride, the pride event here has become more and more commercial, and less and less diversified... Night clubs, bars, radio stations, porno production companies, repeat!

    Sure, these are gay and gay supporting business, but floats after floats after floats...

    And I guess it also depends on what your concept of a Pride March is.. Comparing our Pride march to straight people's Mardi Grass, summer carnicals, etc, WHICH the SOLE purpose is to PARTY... Isnt that a bit too restrictive..?

    I know party is a large part of a parade and march, but when one compares Gay Pride with these straight PARTY events, it shows that maybe that is what Pride is turning into for many Gay men... BIG PARTY and nothing else..?

    I actually am glad that various sub groups of gay people, especially the ones some may think are creepy or an embarrasment, are marching and being as visible as they can be in they way they know how to... I am more discerned about the lack of diversity in New York Prides, and the shift of agenda towards commercialization and party ONLY. Party is great! But becoming a Mardi Grass..? I would like to see some diversity... Like what Nickof the North described...
  • imaxim

    Posts: 94

    Aug 06, 2007 11:21 PM GMT
    "Night clubs, bars, radio stations, porno production companies, repeat!"

    Good point. I suppose part of it is that our definition as a subgroup is primarily sexual, and also that only certain sectors can unilaterally associate themselves with 'gay' and not fear any reprisal.

    Imagine a more diversified Pride, with floats of gay teachers, gay doctors, healthy HIV+ gay men, etc. I'm sure you get the picture... how many people are really bold enough to go out on those floats?

    Perhaps more of a "gay-friendly" or GSA type of event would be more conducive to those sorts of groups participating, but even that seems like a bit of a longshot anywhere but the most progressive cities.
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    Aug 06, 2007 11:22 PM GMT
    By the way, I actually liked the pictures the post started presented... They look free, proud, and are having fun. And there is diversity, more than the straight floats... The staight floats reminds me of a boat load of Lindsey Lohans and Paris Hiltons... If one think they are freaks, at least they have mnore purpose than just party when compared to those straight party boat floats...
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    Aug 06, 2007 11:26 PM GMT
    Yes, I would like to see that..

    And you are right Imaxim..

    That would be a good idea.. And maybe there can be a Gay March/Parade JUST dedicated to party..

    I just hate to see gay men automatically compare our Pride march, which is so important to us and relfect our years of struggles, to taht of straigth mardi Grass and Party Boats... I just personally think this is not a good direction.. And I think actually a lot of gay men FORGOT what pride is about.. They already think it is just a gay Mardi Grasss and nothing more...
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    Aug 06, 2007 11:35 PM GMT
    And one of the greatest experiences for a young gay men or newly outted gay man when attending the Parade is: "Wow, I am not alone, there are others like me.."

    This should be the case whether you are a run away gay youth, ex junkie, doctor, attorney, student, transgender, artist, etc, etc, etc..

    Instead, the lack of diversity can make a newly out gay man say this: "Yike, do I have to look like those steroid pumped porno actors and prostitutes to be accepted by the gay community..?! I guess I can only be happy if I looked like one of them!"
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 06, 2007 11:40 PM GMT
    re: italmusclebtm
    It is a shame that you experience the need to explain to your straight friends that the commonly used images do not necessarily reflect the larger gay community.

    I look forward to attending gay pride parades in the US once I've moved back here; as I mentioned, I only have this year's Oslo parade under my belt and it sounds like a very different kind of affair in terms of splash and flamboyant glamour.

    As part of my rant, I feel that it is fair to critique the bashing of the parades, though I wish to apologize for an assumption I made: I assumed that the complainers of the parades mentioned here have not taken grass roots action to alter the parades. For that, I am sorry.

    To me, complaining online in a forum about the parades is not enough if you truly feel indignified by them; take your complaints and raise them to attention of the parade organizers. If you don't take action to improve what you dislike, well, it feels like a burger without any meat (real or vegetarian substitute), raising the (paraphrased) question of "where's your beef?"

    My rant was also the first outburst I've had on this issue after having read similar threads on numerous sites and debated the issue in offline gay gatherings.

    I disagree with regards to the virtue of visibility and spectacle; to be visible is better than to be invisible on the grounds that in the former, people have to either recognize your existence or delude themselves; in the latter, that delusion goes unquestioned.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 07, 2007 12:05 AM GMT
    I'll have to check in on Miami's parade once I move down here; if it is as vapid as some of the "pride" parades mentioned here, then I have something to get working on! I agree that the purpose of the parade (in a wider gay community sense) is to make LGBT persons aware that they are not alone, with the addition of making non-LGBT persons continually aware of us.

    With particular regards to [i]"Night clubs, bars, radio stations, porno production companies, repeat!"[/i] of the NYC parade, I can't recall their equivalents in Oslo (with the exception of the S&M mileu, which is strongly associated with two clubs / groups in the city); instead, I remember the gay agriculturalists, the gay athlete groups (skiers, soccer players, and more), and the gay law enforcers (police, paramedics, and military personell), all in costume or uniform.

    In short, I'll have to complete a video of the parade and upload it once I am back in Norway.
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    Aug 07, 2007 12:21 AM GMT
    "Good point. I suppose part of it is that our definition as a subgroup is primarily sexual, and also that only certain sectors can unilaterally associate themselves with 'gay' and not fear any reprisal."

    Well, it is also the power of the almighty "$$$$".

    A lot of the floats in NYC Gay Pride has already become insideous show cases for bringing in business and revenue for these porno actors/prostitues and their companies. Furthermore, if the agenda for Gay Pride has shifted to ONLY party as a priority, all the after parade parties brings in tons of $$$$$...

    NYC gay men are already hit rampantly with meth and other sex party drug addictions. The value of many gay men, who feel that they can only be accepted and validated by the gay community if they have a super muscled body and "hot" enough to have everyone wanting to have sex with them, are runing away with this shift of agenda of turning Pride into a big party event and nothing else. They have conveniently forgotten what Pride is about, but associated it with anotehr weeknd of sex and drugs. And who wins? The vendors who are making $$$$$... That is not a "win" for gay men in the bigger sense...
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    Aug 07, 2007 12:35 AM GMT
    Wow.. I accidentally got people riled up, sorry...

    I should say that even after I posted the original comment I debated about deleting it because I wasn't sure I was even totally committed to my original opinions. (Alas, this board has no ability to delete your own posts...)

    Going back for a second look on the photos, I don't think "creepy" is a fair word for all of them.. in fact, most of them are quite benign.. I think the reason I had that initial reaction was at the first pictur... older drag queen in white face smooching right into the camera lens... was what came up as a front page story on the newspaper website... so maybe it was more critical of the media and what gets filtered through their lens (no pun intended) as opposed to the prade content itself. Again, maybe just that first photo with the big headline "Gay Pride" which essentially is screaming "hey, these are what gay people look like" and my reaction of, "well, no honey, they all don't".

    I wasn't actually able to attend the parade, so I can't make a comparison between the actual events on the ground and what ended up in the papers, which is a slightly different discussion about whether the media picks and chooses certain images that can get interpreted as representing all of us, and how easily we make it for them to do that with the people in the parade. I have attended pride parades in other cities, like Austin, Texas, that were pretty standard fare for any parade.. ever bar had their own float, every group had their own float, and every business that sponsored the parade had their own float (e.g. Dell Computers, with employees from their corporate gay group, etc).

    The flip side of this is like Philip Seymour Hoffman's character in Fearless and the scene with him versus the Log Cabin Republicans over whether drag people should be in the parade at all out of a sense of "puting on the best public face". It's an old argument (and particuarly as several people have emailed me personally, one that has been argued many times and why the hell did I bring it up again).

    Maybe my sense of reacting to it is just out of that place where you're already feel like you're alone, and you say to yourself "well, gay pride, be with others like you" and then that feeling of no, that's not your community either.. you're a minority in a minority.

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    Aug 07, 2007 12:38 AM GMT
    Nick of north:
    " agriculturalists, the gay athlete groups (skiers, soccer players, and more), and the gay law enforcers (police, paramedics, and military personell),"

    That sounds GREAT! I think we only have agay officers league in the NYC Parade eveyr year, but the rest of what you mentioned? I wish we see more of that in NYC parade!

    Oh, and the above post where I mentioned "vendors".. This I meant clubs, party promoters, radio stations, porno companies, sex workers, and illegal drug dealers (oh yeah, Gay Pride is one of their peak weekends to make tons of $$$ in NYC.)
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    Aug 07, 2007 1:51 AM GMT
    I imagine that members of NOW or other feminist organizations which are working for the rights and dignity of women get really frustrated with the Girls Gone Wild version of femininity and the antics of Lindsely Lohan, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton. I suspect that feminists would find their job easier if all women behaved in ways which showed self-respect and integrity. So, if you are working for equal rights and breaking down stereotypes, those in your community who don't seem to take that as seriously as you do can be annoying sometimes.

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    Aug 07, 2007 2:01 AM GMT

    Did you read the posts...?

    Did you have too much to drink..?
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    Aug 07, 2007 3:22 AM GMT
    It's probably worth investigating and comparing these events in various countries, as I do think that the events in Europe would probably leave me feeling less horrified than some American pride events.

    NYCMusc4Musc and Ashpenaz make some very good points here too.

    If it helps in understanding my somewhat unusual perspective, my biggest issue in coming out (circa 1992/93) was that I had absolutely nothing in common with any of the visible gay people I'd seen or come into contact with. I still feel like an outsider, but I've gotten used to it.

    Then again, I have never been a conformist. In nursery school I was quite content to sit by myself and stack blocks rather than adjust myself just to fit in with some clique. My self esteem has never depended on the acceptance of a peer group, even as a toddler...

    I have watched so many people change who they are (from style of dress all the way to actually *deliberately developing lisps*) when they came out that it's only served to polarize me even more. I have never in my life had to work harder to restrain myself than I did last year, when during Pride Week in NYC some activist started FOLLOWING ME DOWN THE STREET, insisting that I take a leaflet on free hepatitus vaccinations. I found it really demeaning, and as much as I've tried to cut people some slack, I really do think NYC's "Pride" events are pretty awful. I will definitely be active next year in trying to subdue things.
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    Aug 07, 2007 3:38 AM GMT
    If gay pride festivals were devoid of these spectacles that many seem to be so ashamed of, then the six o'clock news would simply find a shot of some gay guy in the crowd picking his nose and show that to America. Call me cynical though.
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    Aug 07, 2007 4:45 AM GMT
    Liltally, I could enumerate the ways that Canada -- it is afterall a different country with a different history which I doubt you know anything about. Yes, there is shared geography and to some degree the shared culture of the colonizers who founded the coutnries, but since then they have diverged in significant ways. But to say that Canada is not different than the US is to unmaks your ignorance.