Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Seeing the Gays

As some of you may know, the governor of New York signed a bill into a law that allows gay people to get married, since New York is the most progressive, forward-thinking, trend-setting state in the Union. It was definitely the first state to allow this (no it wasn't) (it wasn't even second) (that is to say, there were five other states that were more trend-setting than New York was, a fact that seems to conveniently have slipped the minds of LGBTQ advocates all weekend) (in fact, it was beaten to the punch by IOWA, which is a Midwestern state so backwards that they still haven't gotten Duke Nukem Forever) (New York getting beaten at anything by Iowa is like the tortoise beating the hare, if the hare kept talking about how much better his pizza was than everyone else's).

As a consequence, there was a massive Pride Parade in New York City last weekend, where thousands of people took to the streets in fanciful corporate logo'd floats to demonstrate how much they loved being gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/queer, and in the case of one group, how much they hate Israel. (There was also a group of "bi-brarians" proudly holding up signs that show where sex and gender studies are located in the Dewey Decimal system.)

I happened to be in NYC for the weekend to visit my friend I-Banker, along with several other old schoolmates. One of them suggested we go to the Pride Parade, "so we can be part of history!" (I mentioned what I said above, that even Iowa already has gay marriage. My friend's response was both sucker-punch-y and optimistic: she said once New York does something, the entire country follows. /facepalm.gif)

So we went to go see the parade. When I went to visit Sam Clam's Disco last summer (a notorious hotspot for LGBTQ culture, although they don't have gay marriage) (seriously guys, if Iowa has it already...), there was a large Pride Parade, which I didn't go to (I apparently missed an impromptu performance by the Backstreet Boys, or maybe N'SYNC).

There were all the requisite stereotypes on display, but there was also a large number of normal/normally-dressed people, just happy to be there. I'm not quite sure I can emulate the feeling of being Proud and Out, but I compare it to going to a convention and knowing that, not only does Han Shoot First, but there are thousands- maybe millions- of others who feel the same way. To be a minority that is so roundly hated, stereotyped, and dismissed has to be crushingly depressing, and lonely. To know that there are others who are like you, that you're part of something you can be Proud of in public...well, I can see why that might be so appealing.

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