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The usual ambivilence--

The Volunteer Coordinator at Equality Texas assumed I was going to be walking in the pride parade this year.

Reasonable assumption, considering the amount of hours--and cake and salsa--I've given their organization.

But I'm not sure about the overall good of the Pride Parade, whether it's a net benefit or not, with an edge of reluctance and mild cowardice about being as much "out" as to be in a parade. Protest marches are within my comfort zone, but even in the anonymity of 1000+ marchers, I'm not sure about functionally holding a sign saying "I'm gay and so's my boyfriend."

Mostly, that's about comfort zones.

The pride parade gives a focus for the GBLT(a?)s, a strong "we're not alone, and look what we can do" sort of push. It's also got an element of "not only are we alone, but there's someone like us, and they're not afraid to be festive". Useful, strong bonus.

The Strength in Numbers aspect, I don't know how that plays out.

The negative side, is that conservative, moralistic and hostile group gets galvanized at the sheer level of weirdness, and becomes more hostile, conservative and moralistic, as if the presence of gays strutting in their leather and sailor suits confirms everything they knew. This is harmful, but I seriously have my doubts about whether there's anything the GBLT community can do to "win them over" except being and acting straight. So if a bigot gets more bigoted, is that actually harmful?

Someone argued that if someone was neutral on the issue, the presence of the Central Texas Bears in full regalia might push them over to hostile. But I'm really not sure that anyone *is* neutral. You're either tolerant, in which case you can say "hah hah, look at the funny queers," or you're intolerant, in which case you'll say "Look at those weirdos, I don't want that in MY city."

There are a few people I've met that were so flamey and catty that they kept me in the closet for an extra year or two, but I don't know if I feel that way about the pride parade, because it's intended to be a spectacle and a mardi-gras-type inversion of the normal state of things.

Babble, babble.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
synj_munki
May. 12th, 2006 11:00 am (UTC)
well, some ppl i know wear masks to these things...
spottylogic
May. 12th, 2006 11:11 am (UTC)
Well, that would be sending the entirely wrong message, unless you were specifically going for a mardi gras theme. If the idea is "we're here, we're queer, and we're in your coffee shops," and that GBLT is a fine and good thing, then a mask would really undo a lot of that.

Like I said, mostly rambling. Anyway, the group I do my volunteering with is going to be marching, it turns out, so I'll probably just stay with them.
paka
May. 12th, 2006 11:40 am (UTC)
I wish I knew what to say; I do like the idea of pride parades as a gentle way of pushing for societal acceptance. But I also sympathize with the fearfulness, but with luck the numbers ought to cover it up.

I really do think you have a good take on the public opinion thing. As a minority in the USA, I've come to feel that the real bigots will always be bigotted against you. I'd love to quote your comment about people being decided or not, too.
spottylogic
May. 12th, 2006 11:50 am (UTC)
Feel free to borrow words :)

I'm really ambivilent about being "out." It's not really important. I'd like people to know that I'm in a committed relationship with a great person, but I'm a little reluctant to talk about it, because it can create a level of awkwardness. Though, thankfully, I'm in Austin, which is the gay ghetto of Texas, and most people are tolerant in the extreme...with a few exceptions, which I don't want to stumble over.

*sigh* A lot of the more negative conversations I've had/experienced strongly associate gays with rampant promiscity (a deserved stereotype, I guess), or seem to jump conversationally directly to NC-17 stuff that I have a hard time talking about with my *boyfriend*--or, weirdly, pedophelia.

Bleah. Same-sex relationships carry so much more societal baggage than they should, in addition to all the other baggage that a relationship carries. It's easier just to be evasive.
jerseytude
May. 13th, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
There was an article in the Onion about "Gay rights parade sets gay rights back 20 years."

I think people are afraid of alienating the "possibly tolerant."

There's also the whole: "You know, my neighbor Steve is gay and he seems like a normal guy who works, has a job, and just happens to prefer the company of men to women, so I thought, well, maybe gay people are pretty normal. Then I saw three guys wearing gimp masks strutting down Main Street fondling each other's buttocks - boy was I ever wrong about those freaks!"
spottylogic
May. 14th, 2006 08:15 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's the possible downside of Pridefest. Though in Austin it's pretty laid-back, a few people in drag (I almost wrote "in dragon"), a few sailor suits, a lot of well-toned people showing off how well-toned they are, and that's about it.

Again, mixed feelings.
(Deleted comment)
spottylogic
May. 14th, 2006 08:13 am (UTC)
I have to disagree with that one. Being an equivocal sort of person, I have mixed feelings about everything :) Besides, if I just didn't do all the things that I was mildly nervous about, I'd never accomplish anything! Well-tempered fear is a good thing, but I need to keep an eye on when it becomes a useless emotion.
unclehyena
May. 17th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
The big problem with Pride Gatherings generally is that they tend to blow right past expressions of solidarity and into exhibitionism and kink. I think the community NEEDS Pride gatherings, because they build the morale of the community, but also hurt the cause of general acceptance.

In short: Every Pride parade sets the movement back by six months, but gives the community the energy and will to keep trudging along for another year; it's a net gain, but a painful one.

Uncle Hyena
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )