The Walk of Shame
Gawker provides a more balanced and nuanced Liberationist view of Pride than the one from Is L.A. Gay Pride an Outdated, Adolescent Mess?:
Yet once again L.A. Pride will bring out the go-go boys and cock rings, will be partly underwritten by liquor companies, and will celebrate stereotypes and outdated notions of what it means to be gay.
And then we’ll wonder why certain straight folks don’t take us seriously or think we’re stuck in some kind of “Peter Pan syndrome” — and we’ll cry bloody murder when we’re treated poorly.
Well, as the old saying goes, if you don’t want to be treated like a slut, don’t act and look like one.
I’m not exactly sure why these notions of what it means to be gay are “outdated” if, by McDonald’s estimate “hundreds of thousands of gay folks from Southern California and elsewhere will converge on West Hollywood to celebrate gay pride by marching in or watching the parade on Sunday.” That sounds like a thriving cultural practice, whether you agree with it or not.
McDonald is suggesting that gays simmer down and behave if they want to be taken “seriously” or avoid mistreatment they ultimately bring upon themselves. Gay Pride celebrations may represent a loud, douchey side of the culture, but they hardly warrant animosity. If an outsider looks at them and decides that’s how gays are all the time and uniformly, that’s willful ignorance and the defect of that person, not the people who are having an unabashed good time.
McDonald goes on to list a number of gay men whose achievements have helped make the world a better place: civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, Walt Whitman, the people of ACT-UP and its ilk, South African activist Simon Nkoli, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The list stretches on. Displays of partying do not negate these accomplishments or overshadow these men. Together, the achievement, the hedonism, the specific sexuality come together to illustrate the complexity of the gay experience. No rational person judges an entire population by the sports fanatic whose out-of-shape body is painted with the colors of his favorite team, or by the fuzzy legwarmers of its dehydrated, EDM-listening youth. Public revelry is what we do when we aren’t saving the world.
I get the feeling that straights are still squeamish about gay sexuality. From neutered depictions of gays in pop culture to one-on-one conversations I’ve had, it’s clear that there exists a communicative divide — a gay person cannot avoid being inundated with all facets of heterosexuality, including the sex. Straight people can more easily ignore the ways of minorities, keeping us at arm’s length and accepting us only in part and begrudgingly. The public spectacle of Gay Pride exists not just to say, “We’re here, we’re queer.” It’s also saying, “We’re here, we’re queer and we fuck.” Editing ourselves for the sake of acceptance is disingenuous. It’s a slippery slope from, “I’ll tone it down and behave for the sake of sensitive straights” to “I’ll stop sucking cock for the sake of sensitive straights.” No mentally healthy gay guy is going to do the latter anytime soon; why bother doing the former either?
Nothing that happens during Gay Pride parades deserves discrimination. No one deserves to be treated “like a slut” in any negative way for his consensual sexual tastes and practices. In projecting what straight society will make of wonton gays and condemning the latter, McDonald is essentially rushing to make homophobic judgements before the homophobes can get to it. It’s a declaration of treason that’s not going to actually change anything (“Gay Pride Parade Canceled Because LA Weekly Writer Is Embarrassed” will not be a headline). It’s just a way of saying, “I’m better than you guys.” That kind of disconnect within our culture is a hell of a thing to show to straights, too.
Homo: Sure, sure. Yeah, yeah. The “big tent” argument is fine, up to a point, but it belies the fact that “we” are not a “we”. The LGBT community is only that in Pride Parades! We’ll let you in on something here, “we” (Homo Magazine) are obviously not a “we”, but an individual writer. “We” is an attempt to satirise a community that is constantly saying “we”, but means nothing of the sort. How could it? The Gay Community exists in relationship to a straight audience. Whether we are being good little boys and girls, like that fool McDonald writes, or as Juzwiak implies above: that we become “Missionaries” of hedonism to the benighted straights, showing them how a diverse community might work, we are still a homo means to a straight end. Pride marches (or limps) on because of self-serving Pride organizations that live off the nostalgia and commercialism that fuel these events. They are reminiscent of today’s San Gennero’s festival in New York’s Little Italy: few Catholics, fewer parishioners who believe in the saints cult, but thousands of tourists who want to see an “authentic” Italian American festival, a bit of surviving old immigrant New York. The tourism board and chamber of commerce keep this half-corpse on life support to keep collecting an income.
For us the whole Pride is also a ghost, a show that outlived it’s usefulness or meaning twenty years ago. David Wojnarowicz in 1992 funeral began the end of Pride in our mythology. Judith Butler read the funeral oration in Berlin in 2010. If somehow Pride Parades were defunded and disbanded, after five years no one would reconstitute this “tradition”. Dead and gone. What to do instead? It’s hard to imagine right now, listening to the braying of some awful diva from a bar float. Pride is a kind of “mobile” and once off ghetto. The overwhelming feeling-tone of, “let’s just get this over with”, but this behemoth absorbs so much energy!
The very notion of gay “Pride” is as obsolete as “Black Pride” (where the pink version’s roots lie). Pride in what? Gay Shame brought this up, but was quickly shushed by the mawkish chimera that is the Pride Monster, Inc. We repeat, and we will repeat forever (until a satisfactory answer is proffered): pride in what? It’s fine to claim a tradition and heroes if there is any authenticity to the claim. Homos name Walt Whitman, Alan Turing, Jean Genet, and Edmund White among our heroes, but this is not just because they are cock-suckers, but show the same proclivities and live lives we share and admire. These men would, we hope, recognise themselves in the dark mirror we have set up here. Cut to Ludwig Wittgenstein as the grand marshall of LA Pride (as implied in McDonalds’s redonkulous article). The notion would be hilarious as satire, but again, it’s not! (We find most of LGBT,ETC life today an unintended self-satire. Sorry, we’re bad, but what can you do when one’s eyes see the things they see?)
The Pride Monster would tell us many Big Lies, the biggest of which is that “we” are a United, Diverse and Proud Nation (American flavoured Homonationalism). Like most American food, this notion looks good on the surface, but when you examine it closer, there’s no substance. In fact, if you swallow it, the stuff will make you ill (and eventually kill you). Why? Because it’s not really food, it’s a commodified industrial product engineered to make a profit. Pride and Homonationalism are similarly false. “We” have almost nothing in common, aside from the fact that ignorant straight people despise our sexual practices similarly.
What would we do instead? Many things. First, smash the notion that we are a Nation. Sexual minorities should, in our view, take up the political model of Native Americans (before their genocide at the hands of Amurika. Tribes) forming very different traditions and uses, with no need to feel any unity or even respect for one another’s ways and practices. Harry Hay, with as good a claim as anyone to the claim of the founder of the movement that has mutated horribly into the Thing We Call Pride, was thrown under the bus for making this point. Yes, over NAMBLA, but, when you say diversity, do you really, really mean that, Pridesters? No, puritanical idiots who are thinking this, it does not mean we support pedophiles, we don’t, but just another reason not to call it Pride. We also eschew Budweiser fag bar floats and Scottish Gay Men United or any other nonsensical group marching down Fifth Avenue in this Walk of Shame! (Dykes on bikes are the only cool thing left and they deserve their own parade, nay, festival!) This whole carnival makes NO SENSE (if only that were the point, but it ain’t)! Ergo, disband! Now!
What? Abandon the LGBT Nation? What of our rights? Collective memory? We’d be at sea! We would cease to exist! The supply of homosexuals is replenished by breeders at a steady rate (it’s the only thing we thank those people for). Unlike some tribe that is dying out on the edge of a Micronesian island, homosexuals will always exist (until the day we invent a pill, to limit or end despicable heterosexuality). Until that day, we wish to loosen our ties. This does not mean not advocating for the rights of citizens or living the way you wish. It’s simply saying the current model of LGBT New Roman Empire does not work, not for us, not for anyone, except perhaps a tiny cabal of professional homosexuals who benefit from it directly. The term “Gay oppression” (see picture above) has taken on an unwanted irony for us; the best oppressors are the house slaves and Uncle Toms in the LGBT cabal! (And remember, kids, being at sea can be really fun: sun, seamen, camaraderie and adventure!)
What it does mean is we go our own way, following our desires and proclivities to their ends. This will take courage, knowledge and wisdom, but those exist in plentitude if you know where to look. The Internet is the vastest city humans have ever built. As citizens, we are free to move about, associate and commune. Put all that energy and bluster that is wasted on Pride into smaller, more meaningful actions that would be more personal, professional, academic, etc. This could be as simple as holding a reading in a mall bookstore of a homo book in order to start a local network. Local action is powerful. Get something going on the Internet, in a really diverse vein. Pursue your desires, thoughts and longings for real. Genuine desire and feeling will never lead you to the kitsch and cliches that populate Pride and the “over the rainbow” cult. We have left this amusement park that pretends to be a metropolis, we have begun to rebuild the red towers of Sodom, in our own time, in our own way. We think all the colors of the rainbow should do the same.
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