Monday, July 21, 2008

On Pride, Shame, and Joy

Having successfully survived the June Gay Pride season I find that my knee-jerk small town reaction to homosexuals making a general spectacle of themselves in public has waned and mellowed enough over the years to allow me a slightly broader perspective. As the nation continues to socially mature and gay people are being pigeon-holed with minority status in order to be more easily marginalized like every other group of people who were outcast and then got very loud about it, it is becoming more and more common to see outsiders getting involved in our celebrations. In this case those outsiders are those mostly sane, semi-mild mannered heterosexuals that ten years ago wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near the chain-link fences we erect to help ourselves feel a little bit safer while we drink ourselves into an orgy of cheap consumerism and, well, orgies. Gay Pride is more and more becoming a venue where heteros can feel free to let their freak flags fly, as it's hard to look even remotely freakish getting a hand job from your girlfriend while there's an eight foot dragging queen singing about the joys of romancing parking cone onstage.

There's a small part of me that still resents the intrusion into what it feels should be an exclusionary 'gays only' environment, but that's also the part that still thinks it's enough to define yourself by who you sleep with rather than whom you aspire to be. The rest of me is glad to see the Pride festival become further diversified by the very people who's intolerance, fear, and outright ignorance made it necessary in the first place. As that diversification continues it also becomes apparent that what we celebrate in our sweaty, half-naked Masses isn't Pride, but is in fact Shamelessness. It's a way for all of us, gay, straight, and even republican to come together and say "Yes, we're perverts, but so are you! Now take off your pants, stop complaining, and let's have a beer."

Happy Shamelessness '08 everyone, I hope you flew your freak flags high.

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