I woke up late this morning. Probably the latest I’ve awakened in the last 5 years.
When I finally got out of bed and glanced at the clock, I realized that I needed to get going … and quick.
I threw some clothes on, grabbed my jacket and camera, then went into the living room where the rest of the family was already immersed in the latest Nintendo Wii title.
“I’m walking down to the Gay Pride parade, if anyone wants to come with me, you have 3 minutes to get ready!”, I said.
My youngest daughter, who was by this time standing at my feet, furrowed her brow into her best “thinking face”. I gave her some time to process the situation, and after mulling it over for ten or fifteen seconds, she finally asked “Is that the one where the men show us their penises?”
You know, it’s interesting what kids remember. It’s been a full year since the last Seattle Gay Pride Parade (now simply called “Pride” since living in Seattle and being gay is redundant), and I had all but forgotten about the naked men riding their bikes and rollerblading in the parade, proudly displaying their ballsacks and cockrings for all to see.
We briefly spoke about the men last year, but since that time, I’ve not uttered a word about them in my household. The subject simply has not come up. Yet, it’s something that my youngest daughter, a girl who only three years ago couldn’t even speak, still remembers. And really, why wouldn’t she? It’s the first time, the only time I hope, she’s ever seen an adult male penis. If I have my way, it will be the last time, too.
“Yeah, that’s the one, wanna go?”, I replied.
As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was weirded out.
Had I really just asked my daughter if she wanted to go look at a bunch of naked men with me?
That certainly wasn’t my intent, but apparently this … this is what it has come to. The struggle to end discrimination, the fight for equal rights, the efforts to abolish stereotypes, and here I am in 2012 feeling like Jerry Sandusky because I wanted to take my young child to see what was supposed to be a celebration of human rights.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Once upon a time, I was what you might call a “peripheral member” of the gay community. My best friend and roommate of many years was a gay man who was active in gay causes, and through him, I was able to develop and maintain strong social ties to the community. I was always extremely supportive of gay rights, and on more than one occasion, I marched right along with them. It even got to the point where I could make all the buttsex jokes I wanted without being called a homophobe. It’s a good thing, too, because I made lots and lots of buttsex jokes. After all, what’s not funny about taking it up the poop chute?
Since that time, I’ve watched an entire nation become more tolerant … much, much more tolerant of gay causes. I’ve watched as gay people have attained an average living standard significantly higher than that of their heterosexual counterparts. I’ve watched millions upon millions of young, straight men misappropriate gay culture (“metrosexuals”), because said culture is now decidedly “in”. I’ve watched civil unions and gay marriage become legitimized, and I’ve watched openly gay people rise to higher and higher positions of power.
Sadly, at the same time, I’ve also watched with great disappointment as more and more gay groups exploit and abuse that power. I’ve watched as they’ve slandered and labeled anyone who has not bent to their demands as “homophobic” . I’ve watched as they intimidated the Space Needle into flying the gay pride flag in 2011. I’ve watched with despondence as the fight for gay equality has morphed into a fight for gay privilege. I’ve watched as the gay community played up, and even celebrated, every negative stereotype that has ever been cast their way.
Most of all, I’ve watched with great sorrow, as I have become more and more alienated from a cause that I once wholeheartedly endorsed.
As time marched on, and Gay Pride parades have gotten more acceptable … more fashionable … I’ve grown less interested in looking at 50 year old men prancing around in assless chaps. I’ve grown bored of watching 200lb women bare their breasts because they think it’s empowering. I’ve gotten tired of watching adult men ride around city streets with their dicks hanging out.
I’ve begun to realize that mainstream society is not so much accepting gay people, as it is infantilizing them. Patronizing them. Nowadays, people laugh and applaud at the Gay Pride parade in the same manner in which they laughed and applauded at black minstrel shows decades ago. I don’t know any more if we are celebrating civil rights, or if we’re merely humoring the cartoon characters we see before us.
When average folks see grown men riding around naked on bicycles, do you know what they really see? I mean, besides the obvious?
They see children. They see little boys. They see a bunch of privileged ex-suburban white kids who want to remain children forever. They see 8 year-olds in 38 year-old bodies who want to wear neon sunglasses, play dress-up, and obsess over their genitalia every waking moment of the day.
This is why Gay Pride participants get away with doing this stuff without being hit by an indecent exposure charge. When children run outside without clothes on, it’s not seen as offensive, it’s seen as cute. When adults do the same thing, it’s seen as perverted, and nobody sees these people as adults.
Is this really what we want, though? For gay people to be humored? To be laughed at instead of with?
More and more, Gay Pride parades across the nation have become parodies of themselves. They’ve become vehicles by which to reinforce every goddamn stereotype that has ever been fostered upon the gay community.
“Look everyone, here’s my ass, I’m proud of it!”
“Look everyone, here I am dressed as Cher, I’m proud of it!”
“Look everyone, here’s Wells Fargo! Since we have lots of disposable income and will never pay child support, Wells Fargo approves of our lifestyle! Not because it leads to greater profits for themselves, but because they really, truly, and sincerely approve of the homosexual lifestyle! We’re proud of them!”
“Look everyone, here’s me dancing suggestively before shoving my tongue down some guy’s throat to wild applause, I’m proud of it!”
“Look everyone, here’s my big moose pecker, I’m proud of it!”
On some level, this is all well and good.
Remember all of those awful, hurtful names you were called 30 years ago? Remember those ignorant stereotypes? Remember those bad, bad people who in the past, all just assumed that you were nothing more than sex-obsessed perverts and predators, lying in wait to corrupt their young children?
Well, like it or not, they’re watching. Maybe they’re trying to keep an open mind. Maybe their son just came out, and they’ve come Downtown to get a glimpse into what this gay stuff is all about. Maybe, despite their convictions, they’re trying to show support for him.
Is this what you think reflects best on the homosexual community?
Is this what you are most “proud” of?
Do you really think exposing their kids to adult male genitalia is the very best way to get that pride across?
Look, don’t get me wrong, I don’t personally find any of it truly offensive. I can’t speak for them, but I honestly don’t think that my kids are scarred for life or anything like that. We all just laughed it off last year, and if it happens again we’ll do the same.
That said, most people do get upset when their kids are unexpectedly exposed to the genitals of strange men. I’ve seen countless parents get upset when their kids are exposed to profanity … imagine how upset they’d get if their kids were exposed to some old dude’s sweaty testicle luggage.
Save this stuff for the after-hour parties on Capitol Hill. As it is, about the only thing that “normals” see during Gay Pride celebrations are sex, ass, and dick, sex, ass, and dick, sex, ass, and dick. Yeah, yeah, they get it. Gay people are obsessed with sex, ass, and dick. Point made. Crystal clear. I’m pretty sure this is what they have assumed all along.
As politically incorrect as it is to say, the fact of the matter is that, sometimes, we are responsible for the way in which other people perceive us. Despite what the media tells us, sometimes, the holder of a stereotype is neither evil nor ignorant. Sometimes, that person is merely calling it as he/she sees it.
My daughter, who is not evil … not prejudiced … hell, not even old enough to attend elementary school … and without any influence from me whatsoever … already associates “Gay Pride” with grown men waving their bare penises at her.
And that, my proud gay friends, is not my fault.
As I rode the elevator down to street level, en-route to the Gay Pride parade today, I ran into a neighbor.
“Where are you going?”, he asked.
“The Gay Pride parade”, I mumbled.
“You’re a little early”, he said, “the parade doesn’t start until 11am … tomorrow.”
And with that, instead of heading down to 4th Avenue, we made our way to Gameworks, where, I’m happy to report that a good, dick-free time was had by all.