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GAY PRIDE FESTIVALS


Guest Zack Evans
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Guest Zack Evans

Is there really a point to pride festivals? I mean, what is the real purpose of these gatherings? I think the word "pride" should be left out of the title "Gay Pride Festival."

 

I mean, think about it. What is the point really? To show unity? Pride? To recollect the wrongs that have occurred up to Stonewall and thereafter and rejoice in our so-called "freedom to be ourselves?"

 

I DON'T think so. Gay festivals are nothing more than a big pick-up party. They are often times crowded and over-priced (at least LA Pride is). Hence, I don't really see how taking part in a pride festival is connected with any real "pride."

 

Perhaps they should re-name it the "Annual Gay Hook-up Party."

 

When I was like 16 or 17 years old I had fun because, at that time, I was actually proud to be a part of something that I thought promoted the true pride of being who you are. Now, as I am a little older, I can truly see that the majority of the people are not necessarily there because they're proud of being gay...or that they're making a political or civil statement about 1st amendment rights to express themselves. Instead, high numbers of gay men go stictly to show off their bodies, socialize, get intoxicated and hopefully try to get some ass in the end.

 

For the record, I am not saying it's wrong to go to these festivals. Nor am I dencouncing ANY qualitative effects that they may have. All I am asking is whether or not these festivals deserve to be titled "pride gatherings." Or are they merely a means to an ends by gay men looking for some action?

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Sure, cruising is a part of it but that would happen wherever men gather, for whatever reason. Do you not notice the gay police officers, the P-FLAG parents, the PWA'S, the dikes on bikes, etc...? These events most definitely have a lot to do with pride.

 

Of course, I go to the parties to dance & get laid but that's just me.

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Guest Zack Evans

HORRAY FOR TRUE HONESTY.

 

PRIDE DEFINITELY FITS INTO THE EQUATIONS FOR OTHER MEETINGS AND CAUSES SUCH AS P-FLAG AND SUCH. ALL I WAS REFERRING TO SPECIFICALLY WAS GAY PRIDE FESTIVALS.

 

ZACK EVANS

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Zack, gay pride celebrations are exactly that: celebrations that we're queer, we're here, and we ain't going anywhere. The cruising will happen no matter what when gay men gather. It's what we do.

 

Wasn't last year's theme "celebrating diversity"? By shunning the event aren't you the antithesis of celebrating diversity? One of the best promos I saw last year was a (str8) Chicago alderwoman named Dorothy something who was passing out buttons saying "Friend of Dorothy". Anyone that "community-aware" (and in interviews she said she knew *exactly* what those buttons would mean!) deserves our support.

 

These events are meant to be fun. Take them for what they are, but also take them to represent an expression to the world at large that you are not ashamed of who you are.

 

Chicago's Pride parade is a week from tomorrow. I'll be there, beads and all. And with any luck my favorite bartender will be stirring mixed drinks with his own special swizzle stick.

 

Some of us just like to be reminded that there are others like us.

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Guest jeffOH

I would have to agree with most of what Zack says about Pride

Festivals. We have one of the largest gay populations in the

Midwest here in Columbus, Ohio. This is also the state capitol,

so glbt(s) come from all over the state for the march and the

festival. I've attended a few and was struck by how many people

seem to be treating Pride Weekend like yet another circuit party.

It defintitely has a lot of the same elements. Bare-chested men

"rolling" their asses off all weekend, drunken leather men and

drag queens (aren't they always the ones who show up on the TV

news?) And the major daily newspaper here usually mentions the

Pride Event, which usually attract 10,000 or more, not on the

front page, sometimes on the front of the Metro section, but

usually on page two or three of the Metro sec..

 

They have it on a Sunday when there's hardly anybody downtown

to witness all this "pride". I say have it at noon the middle of the week when there are thousands of people around. I wonder

how many of these "proud" people would take off work-stop traffic

and maybe turn these events into something about which we can

truly feel proud!

 

There are some who have good intentions, but I believe their

messages aren't reaching the majority of attendees. I hear when

there's a lot of this drug or that in town and Pride Weekend

here is apparently quite profitable. I don't know what the

answer is..but I'm glad Zack posted this as I had been wondering

whether or not I would attend this year or not. I still haven't

decided. On the other hand, Pride Weekend can be a busy one

for us escorts. I may just stay home and work.

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Guest Zack Evans

But what does diversity have to do with a gay pride festival? LA pride, for instance, it NOT diverse in terms of the people that are in it. If anything, it's a very homogeneous environment where EVERYone is practially a half naked muscle guy.

 

HOW is there diversity in such a gathering?

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Guest fedssocr

I think Pride festivals serve a very important purpose for a lot of people and organizations.

 

I play on a gay soccer team. We have a booth at pride every year to recruit new members and tell people about our programs. We seem to end up with a big list of people interested and out of that big list end up with a few new members of the club. It is our one big chance each year to recruit. I think it is the same for lots of other organizations.

 

FOr me, it's important because it shows the real diversity that exists in the gay community. You have the Asians and friends, bears, nudists, every gay religious group and the gay atheists, other sports orgs, pflag, political groups, black and white men together, Latinos, gay run and gay friendly businesses, gay employee groups, and on and on. At our pride this year the crowd seemed to be very young which I think is also a good thing. Of course there's always the "stereotype" groups too...lots of drag and leather and shirtless men with big pecs and nice abs. Nothing wrong with that. This year one of the local strip bars had a dunking booth with their dancers dressed in their underwear. It certainly drew big crowd. :-)

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Guest jizzdepapi

proud gay men... period

 

zack and other younger message center contributors: i think this may have a lot to do with age. for many of us older (i'm 50 this year) men, we remember a time when we snuck into gay bars, afraid of being seen as we might well lose our jobs or longstanding friendships if seen. it's a much different atmosphere now.

 

when i came out, it was the late seventies and promiscuity was rampant--pre-AIDS days. just walking in greenwich village on a summer night, a reasonably attractive male might have had any number of attractive men seriously checking him out and ready to score in a back alley or wherever. and for the first time, we started to function with less fear of police and society. it was a whole new atmosphere developing and took getting used to for many of us, who had hid very securely in our closets. political consciousness started rearing its head at the same time, a phenomenom which for many of us, was mingled with our newly-found open promiscuity. it took a while for many of us to sort that out; some probably haven't yet.

 

as i didn't come out until i was 28 years old (a tortured, virginal and guilt-ridden ex-Catholic), i'm now incredibly jealous when i hear of young gay men, able to accept themselves at a young age, who have come out sexually, emotionally and politically. it took me many years to put all those "coming-outs" together.

 

as i read your comments about pride events, in the back of my mind, i recalled so many years when the police could bust you just for dancing in a gay bar, standing too close to another person of another gender, or any number of reasons. and i was also mindful of the serious consequences these busts could have.

 

i'm hoping that every gay, lesbian and bisexual has an opportunity to interact in their local community in ways that are socially and politically significant--on a regular day-to-day basis. then if they want to get drunk and laid at pride weekends, good for them. i hope they have a blast. it's a shame that for so many, their only activites at pride revolve around the sexual and mind-altering substances, but i'm not ready to judge these people when i don't even know what they do with the rest of their time.

 

i suspect if you search out all the pride events, you'll find serious-minded people working on whatever issue they've chosen and can hook up with them for this work. they might be hidden and certainly less flamboyant but, for sure, they're there.

 

that's my take,

jizz

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RE: proud gay men... period

 

I agree that this aspect of the events may be more evident to people of our generation. But it is also still very meaningful to newbies. Zack, you even said that it meant more to you when you first came out. It probably still means all those things to those people who are first coming out this year. And, for those somewhere between the two, if it takes sexy interaction to get y'all there, well ...

"Micky doesn't eat his cereal because it's good for him, Mickey eats it because it tastes good."

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>I think Pride festivals serve a

>very important purpose for a

>lot of people and organizations.

>

>

>I play on a gay soccer

>team. We have a booth

>at pride every year to

>recruit new members and tell

>people about our programs. We

>seem to end up with

>a big list of people

>interested and out of that

>big list end up with

>a few new members of

>the club. It is our

>one big chance each year

>to recruit. I think it

>is the same for lots

>of other organizations.

>

>FOr me, it's important because it

>shows the real diversity that

>exists in the gay community.

>You have the Asians and

>friends, bears, nudists, every gay

>religious group and the gay

>atheists, other sports orgs, pflag,

>political groups, black and white

>men together, Latinos, gay run

>and gay friendly businesses, gay

>employee groups, and on and

>on. At our pride this

>year the crowd seemed to

>be very young which I

>think is also a good

>thing. Of course there's always

>the "stereotype" groups too...lots of

>drag and leather and shirtless

>men with big pecs and

>nice abs. Nothing wrong with

>that. This year one of

>the local strip bars had

>a dunking booth with their

>dancers dressed in their underwear.

>It certainly drew big crowd.

>:-)

 

 

We recently had a Unity Above Hate Rally sponsored by Youth Pride here in Atlanta. There was a parade, followed by a rally at the Martin Luther King Center. At the rally, we had young gay people expressing themselves through song, poetry and words. One young man was speaking on how he formed a Gay/Straight Alliance at his high school in a predominantly white middle class Republican conservative county. The dinner was lovely and featured young gay entertainers. It was a celebration of being young and queer and proud of it. Was there some hooking up going on? Of course! It happens at both gay and straight events. There were also many adults present, most partnered and it was a wonderful event.

“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature may speak falsely or fail to give answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered: Doctor.....WHO?????"

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As someone who has volunteered with gay pride for year (since

'93), we need pride for many reasons.

 

1) To show our numbers and to be counted.

 

From 3/4 a million in NYC to 350 in Greenville, North Carolina,

we mobilize to bring a human face to L/G/B/T ... community. The

fact the then first lady marched in NYC last year shows how

important we are to be reckoned. While in smaller and rural

area finding there are people like you where there are no bars,

it can save your life.

 

2) To continue are struggle for equal rights, because we don't

have them.

 

In many place around the world we can be killed without impunity.

In the US in many places we can be fired, kicked out of our

homes, not allowed to marry out loved ones. We are not second

class citizens.

 

3) To prove we are not ashamed of whom we are and celebrate how

far we come

 

Some people don't like the word Pride. I accept that. But 33

years ago two men couldn't dance together in NYC. We couldn't

protest unless we were dressed mainstream. We have lost comrades

to AIDS and sisters to breast cancer. We fight and celebrate our

lives and those who have proceeded us.

 

In 7th grade I was stuck in a homophobic town with no one I knew

was that was gay. I opened up my grandmother's National Enquirer

which had 'horrors' picture of the degenerate SF Pride Parade.

One picture stood out a little girl holding up a sign saying "I

love my lesbian mother'. That's when I knew I wasn't a freak.

Because there was nothing wrong with the little girl, the lesbian

mother and nothing wrong with me. Pride changed my life.

 

If you don't like Pride, perhaps it is what you put into it. Go

the concerts and the readings. Watch PFLAG, the gay cops, the

clean and sober contigent, instead of the go-go boys. In the

festivals look at the community groups and business that couldn't

have existed before Stonewall.

 

If you still don't like it, get off the pot and go to your local

pride committee and change it. Stop criticizing and start

mobilizing. Pride can be anything you want it to be, if you are

willing to do something.

 

Off my high horse,

 

Damascene

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Guest ChicagoCorey

You make a lot of gay points -- and I do think that the idea of "gay pride" isn't celebrated by a lot of guys.

 

But the rebuttals here make a lot of points too. And I agree with them.

 

I don't do a lot of "gay community" stuff in Chicago, so I might not be speaking for the rest of the guys, but I see Pride here -- at least the parade aspect -- as an event for the whole city -- like the party sponsored by the gays that everyone attends. So many straight people who live along the route come out to support it (or just gawk) -- that's why, though the concept may seem dated to some and lost on others, it's still incredibly important.

 

Sure, there's a lot of cruising and partying that goes on separate of that. What the hell is wrong with that? To me, that's something to be proud of as well. The moment we start equating something of a sexual nature with something that isn't "pride" is when we start going towards the opposite: shame.

 

-------

[email protected]

new site and pictures

http://www.geocities.com/chicagocorey

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>HOW is there diversity in such

>a gathering?

 

Sounds like a uniquely LA type of event.

 

In Chicago, the Pride Parade is incredibly diverse with almost all facets of the community represented in one way or another. Yes, you'll see the half naked studs and drag divas. But at the same time you'll see the ex-military contingent (in uniform, yet another form of drag), dykes on bikes, the Lakeview Marching Band (a GLBT community band), gay-friendly politicos, etc. And the community along the parade route is just as diverse. You're as likely to see two leather bears snuggling as a hetero couple pushing a stroller.

 

Remember, there *is* gay life outside of LA. ;-)

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Guest Nocturnal

>If you don't like Pride, perhaps

>it is what you put

>into it. Go

>the concerts and the readings. Watch

>PFLAG, the gay cops, the

>

>clean and sober contigent, instead of

>the go-go boys. In the

>

>festivals look at the community groups

>and business that couldn't

>have existed before Stonewall.

>

>If you still don't like it,

>get off the pot and

>go to your local

>pride committee and change it. Stop

>criticizing and start

>mobilizing. Pride can be anything you

>want it to be, if

>you are

>willing to do something.

 

Oh, how I agree with you on that.

 

I admit I do look at the Go Go boys and say, "Damm, that one is hot." But, I go to the rally and to the parade because I want to be counted. I want others after me to know that others went before. I don't mind the sneers and jeers. I truly believe that it is my responsibility to make sure the young gays boys and girls that come along after me have it a bit easier than I did when I was 16 and wanted to come out. I didn't. It was another 10 years before I felt as if there were others like me in the world. And, yes, the Pride Festivals has a part in making me secure enough to come out. I think that often those of us so involoved in the gay community of NYC and LA etc. do not remember what it was like in BumFuck Tennessee or Hokie, Idaho. My little head sticking up at one of those rally's or one of those parades may help one young person say, "there are others like me." That will have made it worth going to 100 of these rally's.

 

And, yes, still I can gawk at the Go Go boys and, no, I don't feel ashamed to do that either. :)

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Guest Zack Evans

It sounds like you're taking my thread out of context. ALL I am saying is that the word "pride" in gay pride festival doesn't fit into the equation of what I envision a pride gathering, or ANY "pride" gathering should be.

 

Zack Evans

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Guest Zack Evans

RE: proud gay men... period

 

It sounds like you're taking my thread out of context. ALL I am saying is that the word "pride" in gay pride festival doesn't fit into the equation of what I envision a pride gathering, or ANY "pride" gathering should be.

 

Zack Evans

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Guest Zack Evans

It sounds like you're taking my thread out of context. ALL I am saying is that the word "pride" in gay pride festival doesn't fit into the equation of what I envision a pride gathering, or ANY "pride" gathering should be.

 

Zack Evans

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RE: proud gay men... period

 

>It sounds like you're taking my

>thread out of context.

>ALL I am saying is

>that the word "pride" in

>gay pride festival doesn't fit

>into the equation of what

>I envision a pride gathering,

>or ANY "pride" gathering should

>be.

>

>Zack Evans

 

 

This gathering was the very definition of what pride is supposed to be. It was sponsored by Youth Pride, which takes pride in being gay. There was no taking out of context. You stated your opinion and my example shows that your blanket statement is incorrect.

“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature may speak falsely or fail to give answer, a question will be asked. A question that must never, ever be answered: Doctor.....WHO?????"

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>ALL I am saying is

>that the word "pride" in

>gay pride festival doesn't fit

>into the equation of what

>I envision a pride gathering,

>or ANY "pride" gathering should be.

 

I'm a little confused here; maybe you could clarify for me what

*you* envision a gay pride gathering to be? Then it might be

more clear for me to understand how the LA one falls short of

the mark or how it is that we are taking your statment out

of context.

 

Have you attended any others than those in Los Angeles?

 

I play in the San Francisco Gay Band, and we participated in the

Christopher Street West parade about 10 years ago, and I agree

that it was far less politicized than the march in San Francisco.

 

Would you be willing to accept other people's assertions that

by marching in a parade as a gay cop or a gay athlete or a

gay musician (what could be more wholesome and middle american

than a *marching band* for *****'s sake !) that those are

acts of pride?

 

Or maybe even that just having 350,000 people on the streets of

San Francisco is an effective political act, even if it is

somewhat bribed by the prospect of hunky half naked men?

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