Day Two. . . Swim, bike, run, or walk. . . Just get there.

Growing up in the 1980s, I remember the first big AIDS scare in early elementary school, and it being the gay disease, although I knew very little about what it was to be gay. The older I got, the more diverse my sphere of influence got, and eventually, I met some of these gay people. Interestingly enough, they seemed no different than any other people I had ever known.

Throughout college and my adult years, some of my best friends turned out to be gay, and OMG, was that an issue for these, liberal members of my family and other circles. Rumours started to spread about my own sexuality and the familial gossip mills churned out little comments here and there. It didn’t help, I’m sure, when I got a large, bright flower tattooed to my leg in my early 20s.

When I first learned of Pride Centers, Parades, and other means by which members of the LGBT community can gather to express themselves freely without fear of retribution, I was instantly appreciative. Discovering there was a haven for members of this community to gather, celebrate and share with the world who we are, was a mini-light bulb moment for me. I have known of other demographics within our greater American society who get to celebrate themselves by means of their own pride events. There are heritage festivals celebrating Native and Island cultures, We have cowboy poetry gatherings, Black Awareness Month, etc. We too, then have Gay Pride and the festivities they entail. And I gotta tell you, the gays know how to party.

One of the most difficult hurdles I have encountered when it comes to the celebration of diversity and group unity is the idea that these groups are somehow receiving special treatment for not being White Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual Protestants. I am positive we have all heard the following sentiments, why are there no straight parades? Why don’t we, as heterosexuals get special treatment? I have heard events like Pride celebrations called discriminatory. It’s been called reverse sexism. Just as I have heard Black History Month and BET called racist, I have heard Pride celebrations called havens for sexual misconduct and abuse. Those who do not feel a part of a culture, look at it from the outside and place judgment. If you are not part of the LGBT community, you may not understand it, and we are taught to fear that which we do not understand.

Discrimination is rampant in our culture and society. We all have prejudices, and some of us inappropriately act on them. What we do not all have is the desire to discriminate because of those prejudices. Issues surrounding topics like California’s Proposition 8, and housing and benefit discrimination for same-sex partners, are real. What all people need is a place to feel safe within their own skin, around people like them. Pride parades, and celebrations of cultural identity are those places. Why are there no straight parades? Because, every day we are taught what it means to be straight. Our American culture is one of heterosexuality. There is no need to celebrate straightness when the culture expresses that around every bend. What we do need is the ability to celebrate that which is a little more unique than the general status quo. So, until such time as when the LGBT community is no longer viewed as a sub-culture, or really – a negative sub-culture, we will march. We will congregate. We will stand up for what we want, and we will do it collectively, with a FABULOUS parade!

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~ by shinshige on 2 July 2011.

2 Responses to “Day Two. . . Swim, bike, run, or walk. . . Just get there.”

  1. Welcome back to blogdom Eddie.

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