The soul has greater need of the ideal than the real for it is by the real that we exist, it is by the ideal that we live

Monday, June 7, 2010

Shame Pride and everything in between

Pride is underway. The term is ironic in my life, I went to a Catholic School as a youth and one of the first days at our high school the principal met us all in the gym and gave a little pep talk to encourage us, I guess, on our new and scary journey. The upshot of which was to exhort us with a slogan.

"We're from ***** and we couldn't be prouder."

You perhaps can see the amusing irony between my very Catholic upbringing and my very gay adulthood.

I purposely went in search of articles extolling the virtues of Pride, and announcing to the world how fabulous this years parades were for this post. There was a noticeable dearth of them.

Instead I found a plethora of articles, blogs and wall posts talking about the number of married couples there were.

I'd say it's a welcome change from the parading twinks in speedos, but it's really not. Homogenization isn't a goal I think we should aspire to.

Alas, the best posts, in my opinion, were the ones from older guys who'd "been there." Those of us who survived the Punic Wars and were still around to tell about it.

One guy mentioned the fact that he rarely goes to dance clubs anymore, becaus he has arthritis and it hurts to dance.

I laughed out loud.

A friend posted something this weekend on his facebook page about Pride vs. Shame. He's right in a lot of ways, Pride sprouted out of the seed of the shame which our ancestors were forced to endure. But it perhaps doesn't really apply anymore.

I'm not ashamed of being gay, quite the contrary, but what I think I'm proudest of is the difference. I'm different, in many ways more than my sexuality, and that's what I choose to celebrate in June. My friend K is different, he chooses to live on an island in paradise. My friend A is a lesbian who lives in Arkansas and works for Wal-mart. My friend and ex E is a blue-collar worker who celebrates his gayness to anyone within earshot. My old friend P teaches kids about Shakespeare as an edu-tainer, which I'm certain he's incredibly good at now that someone finally gave him a real shot. My friends K&J are property owners, and landlords, and entrepreneurs in what I call the old-tradition. My friend J in Sausalito is a travel writer and poet. My friend J in New York is a humanitaran fund-raiser. My friend B in Cleveland is a devoted partner and writer. My friend of the Pride/Shame post is a musician and free-thinker involved in a relationship.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. We're everywhere and everyone and we don't need a day or a month or a parade to celebrate our existence. We carry it with us every day of our lives. It's as much a part of who we are as having blue eyes or curly hair. Yes we're different, but it's not who we love that makes us that way. It's our choice to live our lives in our own personal way expressing who we are and what we need to be happy that we celebrate.

Incidentally, I love them all deeply for their indifference to their difference.

I include the following antithetical statement by Chris Dodd observing LGBT Pride month because we don't really do enough to recognize that though he's a fringe guy, Chris Dodd is really our friend.

Thanks Senator, we shouldn't need you, but I'm glad you're around, at least for a while longer.


Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) released the following statement today in observance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. “Every June, as we remember the demonstrations at Stonewall, we also recognize the continuing struggle towards equality for LGBT Americans.

“In the last two years, Congress has passed hate crime legislation, renewed the Ryan White CARE Act, and continued our fight to finally end the military’s discriminatory policy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ - but the journey continues.

“Every day, our friends and loved ones in the LGBT community face injustice, discrimination, and inequality. This month – and every day – we must never forget our history and never give up on our fight to ensure equality for all Americans.”

Throughout his career, Senator Dodd has fought for the civil rights of the members of the LGBT community. Dodd is a supporter of legalizing same-sex marriages. He is also a cosponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010, which would repeal the U.S. Department of Defense’s current policy concerning homosexuality in the military. The bill was passed out of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House of Representatives last week.

Additionally, Dodd is an original cosponsor of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which was signed into law last year as part of the Department of Defense Authorization bill. The measure expands existing law to cover hate crimes involving sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. It will also enable the Department of Justice to provide its non-federal partners with assistance to support hate crimes enforcement efforts.

Dodd also co-authored the Ryan White CARE Act reauthorization, which was signed into law last year. The Act provides funding for direct assistance to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS, including primary care, medications, support services, dental care, medical transportation, and many other services.

And please celebrate the difference, it's what makes you unique and worth loving.

And so it goes:

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