Pride Goeth Before …

Phoenix held its Gay Pride Day Parade last Saturday, an event that I was not particularly interested in attending, one that I have not witnessed for over a decade and not walked in since the 1979, tenth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of so-called liberation. An event that I expected to be much like the East Coast and what I have come to regard as a Gay Shame Fest. An orgy of the pinned and pierced, tattooed and tied, the barely clothed and decidedly unclothed, the painted and plastered, the dancing, cavorting and carrying-on in celebration of … what? Pride in what? The inability to comprehend that, unfairly as it may seem, the majority voting block is the last stalwart of civil rights and these annual festivals provide ample ammunition for those wishing to paint this minority community as every parent’s nightmare? I recall that the 1979 Pride was 90% Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Sailor … we are just like everyone else, and that was the marching point, and 10% those driven to be flamboyant. But, then it evolved to be more the arithmetical opposite. Unrecognizable, rudderless, pointless and with its roots invisibly distant. Gay men playing roles and not being themselves.

But, perhaps those walking in this South West “pride parade” are different and things are now calmer, more mellow, smarter and more intuitive? Well, for a start … openly Gay Cowboys courtesy of Charlie’s Bar and Arizona Gay Rodeo. Who knew? A Stage Coach and ‘four-in-hand’ horses.  A small contingent of Apache Pride. A long session of classic cars and local state representatives and those wishing to be. Lynda Carter as Pride Marshall and alias “Wonder Woman”. Definitely not New York nor New Jersey.

And then the surprisingly large group of singing and chanting, gay youth, that throws your perceptions into the twenty-first century and reminds you why it’s important to be visible. This is not the generation surviving in denial in a distant, depressingly masculine world where women held bank accounts only at their husbands sanction, same-sex liaison were furtive and guilt ridden, where homosexuals were documented, disdained and in danger. A small pride and excitement creeps up through you and reminds you that every small progress is one less youth contemplating suicide and every exposure is worth it. And this is tomorrow’s world. A community that should not be judged by its ‘vulgar fraction‘, its lowest common denominator.


About Gerre

I am a person in transition. Sold my NJ home and heading for my new place in AZ. My "do over" as my friend Dee calls it. Life is about transitions. This is my latest.
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3 Responses to Pride Goeth Before …

  1. Darlene says:

    Hang in there – the world is changing. At least I hope so. We need to be tolerant of and believe in diversity. And judge not.!!

  2. Pat Dodson says:

    I still see bias, and ignorance of what and who gay people are. Change never comes fast enough, but change does come. When I was a child in the Stone Age, NO ONE would admit to being gay. Now, thanks to many brave folks, there are pockets of tolerance. I agree that the “Gay Shame” parades set the cause back immeasurably.

  3. Henry says:

    Maybe I live in a dream world, but speaking as a forty-something yr old straight guy I think my generation has “for the most part” gotten past all the stereo types of what it means to be gay. I don’t know many folks my age who does not have a family member of friend who is openly gay. So let the cross dresser’s the transgendered and all the subcultures do their thing , I know most people don’t presume that all gay people are like that. Hell, I don’t think anyone would use Charlie Sheen as an example of divorced dads my age (except my x of course).

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