Gay Pride?

We are, I think, perhaps, possibly, parenting the first generation of openly gay children.  I don’t know for a fact that G will identify as gay later in life.  He’s the only one who will be able to tell us, and he simply doesn’t have the awareness yet.  However, as he stared dreamily at a picture of Justin Beiber on his ipod the other day, I overheard him say, “If I were a girl, I would want to kiss him.” He also pointed out that Luke was ‘handsome’ as we were watching Star Wars last night.  So, I feel like we have a pretty good indication of what direction this is going.

We live in a liberal city with an openly-gay mayor, we have many gay friends and neighbors, and we attend a loving church with openly-gay leadership.  You would think this would be the perfect place to parent G, and usually I think it is.  However, I have this one, oh-so-major issue one weekend a year–the Gay Pride festival. The festival draws such a huge crowd that if we don’t get out for groceries by Friday, we’re pretty much land locked until Sunday night. Rock bands are amplified throughout the neighborhood until all hours.  Drunken party-goers will be tripping over the toys in our front yard.  But it’s not the traffic or noise or crowds that bother me.  What makes me absolutely crazy about the event is that we can’t participate.

Although promoted as a family event, drawing to mind images of marriage equality marches and ‘legalize gay’ t-shirts, it’s not an event for children–at least not after about 10am.  Despite huge expenditures for the bands and food and parades and decorations, the children’s tent was barely more than a few coloring pages.  Last year my husband took my son, but they only stayed a few moments because there were too many scantily-clad men–including one wearing nothing but thin, red silk boxers.  Already this year there is a giant banner announcing the ‘Dyke March’ (Mommy… what’s a dyke?).  And every year we have to avoid the parking lot at the end of our street for a few days after the festival until the used condoms are cleaned up.

I don’t understand why a group of people who so strongly state that homosexuality isn’t just about sex, don’t take this this opportunity to show the world that there are real human rights violations happening within the gay community.  This is your chance!  What does it really mean to take pride in who you are as an individual? As a group? There will be television cameras and newspaper reporters and photographers.  What do you want to say to the world?  Do you want to show that you are people no different from anyone else–parents, workers, neighbors–deserving of the same rights, the same privileges, the same freedoms?  Or, do you want to show the world that you can wear your underwear in public?  Do you want to keep telling the LGBT youth that ‘it will get better,’ or do you actually want to make it better for them by showing their siblings, parents and grandparents what it really means to be a gay person living in society?

For the sake of the next LGBT generation, give us a reason to be proud this year.


5 Responses to Gay Pride?

  1. tedra says:

    “Dyke is another word for lesbian, which is what we call women who fall in love with other women instead of with men. For most people ‘dyke’ is a bad word, but some lesbians choose to use it for themselves as kind of a way of letting the mean people know that they don’t care what they think.”

    Not so hard. And hey, kids love running around in underwear (or naked). I don’t think that sexual stuff needs to be inappropriate for kids; it’s all in how you explain it. When I lived in cities with big pride parades, I totally took my son. Festivals are fun.

    (And in re. why pride festivals are like that: at heart, the prejudice against gays is about their sexuality. Making a point of that sexuality *as* sexuality in public is a way of letting the mean people know that we don’t care what they think.)

    • Sophia Cairn says:

      I appreciate the response, Tedra. I’m wondering if dyke is one of those terms best used within the subculture? As a heterosexual woman, I couldn’t use the term casually without offending, which is why I continue to view it as derogatory despite its common usage. (It seems similar to terms I hear ethnic minorities calling one another–terms okay ONLY within the subculture.) What do you think? I also appreciate your point about why the pride festivals focus on sexuality. It’s not right for our family right now, but I definitely hear where you’re coming from. Thanks for the perspective.

      • Khalid says:

        you shouldnt say dyke its ovsinfefe and with all my straight friends its seem the general thought that dyke’ is an insult compared to all my gay friends who just use it naturally and dont think anything of it. it is very confusingbut the other day my group and i were discussing it and someone said it is like the black and white communities where the black community can call each other the n’ word but for the white community too use the word it is racist it seems simalar to the gay and straight communities thoughts on the word dyke.not sure if any of that helps youim just as confused about the word :]

  2. Karin says:

    Great post! I think you make an excellent point! I consider myself a member of the GLBT community, and have always wondered why it’s necessary for some to dress so inappropriately at gay pride festivals.
    I LOVE the GLBT community, but I know for a fact that I would not take my children to a pride festival. Too many questions that I don’t think they need answered. Hell, I don’t even think they need to be asking those questions.
    as for the word ‘dyke’, I personally think it’s ignorant the way lesbians have sort of embraced it. It’s the same concept as the african american community calling each other nigger. It’s derogatory and offensive, especially to those older generations who fought to stop people from using those terms.
    To me, it’s like a step backwards, as is wearing a pair of underwear to a pride festival. What does that have to do with pride, anyway? Is he proud of his underwear or his ability to wear them so well?
    Anyway, I could rant about this forever. Thanks again for posting! I’ll keep reading!

    • Sophia Cairn says:

      Exactly! What is it that we are supposed to be teaching our son to be proud of? Pretty sure it’s not his Hanes… Thanks for the response!

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