BY JENNIE MCNULTY
Happy Pride Month! It’s official. On May 31, President Obama made an official proclamation: I do hearby proclaim June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.”
Wow! We sound like superheroes out to “eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists.” I want a cool rainbow cape. And, I should be able to fly now or, at least, dance better.
I have heard some people say we don’t need prides anymore. We are slowly gaining momentum on marriage equality, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is gone, and even some right wing zealots have conceded we don’t actually have tails or horns (at least, not attached). I have joked about an argument I got into once at a party with a guy who kept complaining about our parades and finally slurred out the question, “Why do you need a parade for who you fu**?” I told him, “Because, we do it that well.” (He seemed surprised by my answer.) Coital excellence notwithstanding, are prides passe? I don’t think so. We still need our prides. And, yes, we want the whole damn month.
I love prides. The colors, the music, the gaiety, it all comes together in one fabulously fun event. I go home with bags of essential and valuable treasures picked up along the way. Pens, key chains and, of course, beads, I really needed more beads. I’m actually getting a very eco-friendly booth for next year called “Re-Pride” where all be handing all that shit back. Except the level. I got a little mini level from a hardware store’s booth one year and I will never forget the look on my dad’s face when, he was visiting and fixing something in my apartment and asked me if I had one. I proudly handed him my one-inch plastic leveling tool with the cute little bubble inside. When he finished laughing, he did use it and it worked just fine. Way to go, hardware gays.
Then there’s the entertainment. Where else can you still hear old disco divas live except at pride? After all, you really should be dancing. And laughing &3151; there’s always great gay comedy that’s my favorite part nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
There’s even two-stepping for the country lovers. Not for me but, now that I’m wearing my superhero suit fighting prejudice everywhere it exists, I guess I can’t say anything. So, step on my country music loving friends.
Of course, all they will show in the local TV news coverage are the guys in tutus or bare cheeks in chaps, which, sometimes are actually bare bear cheeks in chaps or, as I like to call them, chia chaps. But, once you go inside, we really do represent the rainbow. We, of the ever growing acronym, come in all shapes and sizes, all good and bad. We are all teachers and doctors and next door neighbors. We just happen to be wearing a rainbow boa this weekend.
And, for every wedding planner, jeweler and divorce attorney salivating over the celebration of our diversity, there are still plenty of couples who can’t hold hands in public. There are still hate crimes and beatings, bullies and suicides. And it’s not just that 70s singer we momentarily bring back to the public conscious, it’s those social issues we also shine a light on. That’s a powerful thing that prides do. They increase awareness. They educate. The bigger they are the better. The more fun they are, the more good they do. Because, right next to that ring toss game made out of a giant dildo, there’s a booth disseminating information about health or legal concerns in our community.
Recently, actor Jonah Hill was being followed by paparazzi and, according to him, being taunted. And he returned the favor by yelling, “Suck my dick, faggot.”
A few days later, he made what everyone is heralding as the sincerest of heartfelt apologies on The “Tonight Show.” He said this guy had been taunting him all day and had said hurtful things about he and his family and he wanted to hurt him back, “so I said the most hurtful word that I could think of in that moment.”
My first reaction to his apology was, really? THE most hurtful word? I’m not quite sure how we should take that. Hill is probably an alright guy. It’s not about him. It’s about that fact that being called gay, albeit in a “grotesque” way, is considered insulting.
So, yes, we still need our pride. We need to wear our bright rainbow colors and chant that we are here and queer and we’re chanting because some are still not quite used to it. Be out my friends. Now’s the time to join the (gay men’s) chorus. Tell the world that you are proud to be who you are. Tell the world you are boldly battling prejudice wherever it exists. Because, when it comes to pride we need to be Superqueeroes.
And, I’m pretty sure you can find a rainbow cape at one of the booths.