Gay shame, gay pride

Why 'gay pride' doesn't work for me.

Gay pride expresses itself symbolically with rainbow decals that were barely cool in the '70s and pink triangles that are still as asinine as they were when Hitler dreamed them up in the '30s.

OK, since this is a mere whitecap in the vast ocean of my opinion, you can easily disregard it. But not so easy to disregard is this ugly fact: As is the case all year long, Gay Pride Week is dominated by a certain group of people with large disposable incomes who are often:

a. racist

b. elitist

c. misogynist

d. self-righteous

e. (largely) white, and

f. male

Hence my hesitation to kick up my heels during Gay Pride Week. I do not feel like celebrating the drunk owner of the bar on Olive who humiliated me in front of a bunch of other prideful gay men when he tried to kick me out for being a skanky-assed woman. The only person in the bar who wasn't laughing also wasn't white: It was the beautiful, black bartender who quietly stuck up for me while trying to apologize for what an asshole his boss was without losing his job. Oh, gay pride simply oozed from the floorboards as I meekly left the bar so the gallant bartender wouldn't have to deal with the mortal threat to his livelihood that I represented.

The nuances of gay pride may be completely outside the realm of my imagination—but then again, I'm not the proudly homosexual ad sales freak who somehow thought it was perfectly acceptable to feel around my ass at work. Because he was a strictly-dickly and certainly didn't mean anything by it, I was supposed to go along good-naturedly with the absurd notion that this couldn't possibly be construed as "sexual." So when I told him that fag-hag ass-grab wasn't going to be part of my workday, I was summarily demoted to "stupid bitch," and he eventually got me fired.

Tolerance for diversity is somehow lost on me when I'm skateboarding down Pike Street and I pass four gay white men who holler, "Oooh, Nelly, smell that tuna boat," as I sail past.

The world is positively teeming with racist, classist, sexist straight men. These guys are more fun to hang out with than gay men of similar dispositions because—lacking the gay man's history of alienation and oppression to back them up—they generally know they suck.

There's a lot of indignant bustling atop the soapbox when kids like Matthew Shepard are offed, but what about the hate crimes perpetuated within the gay (largely) white male community on a daily basis? What exactly are all these Michael Musto/David Geffen/Robert Mapplethorpe/Bruce Weber wannabes in a prideful, celebratory tizz for anyway? If "gay pride" is such an actual reality in people's lives, then how come around seven years ago lesbians felt compelled to organize a Dyke March the day before the Gay Pride Parade?

It may have had something to do with feeling alienated and oppressed during the "gay pride" celebration. This would also account for the Dyke March seeming more like a clandestine protest than a celebration, complete with floats and tubas.

Nobody here is saying that lesbians are innocent little lambs, either. The "man-hating lesbian," like all stereotypes, is grounded in a measure of truth.

I recently saw a segment on 20/20 called "Acting White," about black kids accusing achievers among their peers of "acting white"—i.e., being a race traitor. (The point being that this may be why black kids get lower scores on SAT's than white kids.) In the gay community this same sentiment thrives, regardless of and often compounded by ethnicity. It's "uncool" for lesbians to be too chummy with men, and it's "uncool" for gay men to be too chummy with women (unless they are known fag hags). So this creates an environment where you have two communities (men and women) further divided by ethnicity, class, religion, etc. Man, that sure is a lot different from the general population of heterosexual folks, ain't it?

I see so much challenging of the status quo here that my consciousness wavers in and out of a euphoric state of "gay pride." And really, I know that everyone, deep down, is an asshole, but there's a huge population of gay (largely) white men in this town who perpetuate ignorance and hatred to the point of zealousness. And they never check themselves.

Which brings me to Isidor. Isidor is shining and beautiful. This is who she likes equally: women of all shapes, hues, sexual orientations, and economic backgrounds; and men of all shapes, hues, sexual orientations, and economic backgrounds. Assuredly, Isidor's interest in men is more acute, but he can pride himself on the rich diversity of people in his life, each of whom she loves and cherishes unconditionally.

Now that's something to be proud of—to be homosexual in America and have a lot of deep, close friends from all over the cultural stratosphere.

You want to talk about community and promoting visibility? Well, get your butt on down to Nordstrom's sidewalk espresso cafe, where Isidor holds court pretty much every day of the week. Mama Isidor will give you lots of ideas about tolerance and celebration. It is a beautiful thing to know you can count on Isidor—a very, very visible drag queen who somehow perfectly meshes the personas of Bela Lugosi and Audrey Hepburn—to be enthroned daily at Nordstrom. People come and visit with him and each other and then they go about their business. Isidor sometimes knits while she engages with the masses. Everybody and his or her Avon Lady's redneck uncle sits and chats with Isidor.

One can bear witness to a magnificent display of gay pride here 364 days a year. The one day in question would be during Gay Pride Week, when Isidor is usually too busy riding on some float in the parade.

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow