Not Proud about Pride

This week I received a very kindly message, informing that while my poetry was enjoyed, it is simply not what this publisher is looking for right now, but “keep writing.”

First of all, don’t tell me to keep writing.  It isn’t encouraging, it’s patronizing.  Secondly, I knew you weren’t going to accept my work; I submitted it in a gesture of, “what the hell, why not?”  I have been reading the work put out by this queer publisher, and while I like a certain amount of it, I really don’t like a lot of it.  I realize that by not using phrases like, “I sucked your dick and then you fucked my ass while I jerked myself off”, I am limiting my appeal to gay readers, but it’s a limitation I’m willing to take.

Situations like these have me reflecting a lot about gay pride, as of late (I know, it’s a bit of a leap).  It’s not just these direct experiences, it’s also what I read in the news. It was heart breaking to read the statements of the San Francisco Pride committee regarding Bradley Manning, and it’s obnoxious that we spend how many weeks talking about athletes coming out while ignoring everything else happening in the world.  Why is that everywhere I go for gay news (Huffington Post, Out, etc) I am reflected images of super-sexed, hotter than hot, impossibly gorgeous men?  If that’s what being gay is, I think most of us need a new word for what we are.

When did being gay become about how hot someone is, and how explicit they are regarding their sex life?  Can’t some of us be modest?  Can’t some of us have some subtlety about us?  Must we all prance around in our underwear, blatantly looking for sexual partners?

I think I am pretty gay.  In fact, I know I’m pretty gay.  If all my peers in school were certain enough to torture me over it in school before I came out, then I think it’s fairly obvious.

I don’t wear my sexuality or my sexual orientation on my sleeve, and I am committed to showing up for causes other than gay marriage.  I don’t see the p0int any longer in attending gay pride, which is becoming an isolated and vacuous event.  Have you noticed how much time and energy major corporations are putting into being there, to show us how much they “care”?  It’s incredible.  They fully recognize the untapped market that is the LGBT community.  Most of us are only taking care of ourselves, so where is all of our money going if we’re not raising kids?  And where is it going if we are?

I don’t know about you, but that really irritates me.  You can’t be political at gay pride without offending someone (unless you’re being political about gay marriage), but there’s no trouble being comodified.  We used to be the fringe social group, unafraid to take on the challenges of other oppressed groups; now we show up armed with a fresh box of condoms and unopened KY Jelly, ready to get frisky and ignore that the world extends beyond the boundaries of gay pride day.

I will personally be avoiding pride this year…much as I have done the last two years.  In the end, it has ceased to be a fabulous, fun event, and feels more and more like a circus.  In addition to the tacky factor, there is something disturbing about straight people showing up to watch the freak show.

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