“Pride” and the Gay Community

This is Pride week in Washington, DC, where several events, including a parade, a dance, a street festival, and a march for “Unity and Pride” are going on. The march is among dozens of “marches” for this-and-that (science, women, climate, etc.) because the administration of #45 is all about destruction of the environment and reverting to anti-you-name-it policies of the neanderthal era of the 50s.

So there are indeed reasons to demonstrate and voice opinions, especially when dealing with the current hostile, narrow-minded, and bigoted President, Vice President, and appointed heads of the Executive branch of the U.S. Government, and downright hateful majority in Congmess, the Legislative branch.

As I was reading an article in the newspaper on Saturday about the history of the “Pride” events in the country and particularly in Washington, DC, I commented to my spouse…

“The Gay Community (or whatever combination of letters you want to call it / LGBT / LGBTQ / …) is absolutely the most diverse of all “communities” in the country, if not the world.” The spouse wholeheartedly agreed.

The article went on to express opinions that demonstrate division, discord, disagreement, and petty infighting within the Gay Community. Some LGBT leaders quoted in the article expressed concern about “not enough Trans people” on the Board that sponsors the parade and street festival. Some were concerned about allowing police to march in the parade because, in their opinion, police have been generally unsupportive of gay equality efforts.

Yet others railed and ranted about the Gay Pride events becoming “too mainstream” and were angry about corporate sponsorships of Pride events. Others expressed opinions that there were too many “wealthy white cis men” involved.

I had to stop and learn what “cis” meant. The definition as I found this term to be is:

Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have “a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one’s sex”. It is the opposite of the term transgender.

I learn something new every day. I just thought I was a masculine gay man. What do I know?

So when it comes to me — and to “us” (my spouse and me) — we are indeed proud gay men who celebrate our marriage, civil rights, and honorable place in the community where we live. We celebrate that we live in a broader community that is respectful of us, regardless of our sexual orientation. I am particularly proud of what we have achieved and accomplished, sometimes having to fight hard to win, or be patient to get eventually, or both. So YES, we understand what “Pride” is about.

However, we have had enough of infighting, bickering, and queeny behavior that remains deep within the Gay Community. We’re just two guys who enjoy our quiet suburban civic-serving “lifestyle”. We do what we do because of how our parents raised us. We hold similar forward-looking values of decency, honesty, respect, and integrity.

We do not fly the gay flag, not because we are not proud or because we hide in the closet, but because our identity is not defined by our sexuality as it is defined by the men we grew up to be. We don’t need any particular day or week to be proud or a banner to wrap ourselves in.

I feel that I serve the Gay community best by how I live and serve my community. I am not “that gay (somebody).” I am that civic leader, biker, uncle, cousin, married man, and senior caregiver “who happens to be gay.”

Now, isn’t that enough to be proud of?

Life is short: be proud of what you have earned and accomplished, and of those you serve and who support you in the community where you call home.

2 thoughts on ““Pride” and the Gay Community

  1. I believe that the discord and petty bickering exist within the Gay community because they exist in society at large. The gay community is merely a subset of our society. Those learned behaviors are not left in the closet when one comes out of it. They are worn like many layers of clothing and must be purposefully discarded. To do so, one must see them for what they are and and as no longer useful, like a fur coat on a 100 degree day, It takes a lifetime to unburden ourselves from these excess garments.

    • I agree to an extent. But of the hundreds of hours I have served to moderate and build consensus among those who engage on the sometimes contentious civic matters to which I have attended for some 30 years, the degree of petty bickering is much less — here — in my microcosm of my society-at-large.

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