Sunday, June 5, 2011

What is Gay Pride?

I live in NJ. I work in NJ. And Asbury Park is celebrating the official Jersey gay pride celebration today to kick off gay pride month. I stayed home and I watched a very moving documentary on Showtime about the history of pride parades/marches /protests. It made me think about what this pride is truly about. Aren't we all proud of something in our lives? Straight people complain there is no such thing as a straight pride parade. To that I say everyone should be proud (gay or straight) and we should look at what a particular group is trying to accomplish instead of diminishing their goals with hate and intolerance.   

Gay pride is about visibility. Wanting to be heard. Wanting equality. No matter on which side of the fence you stand, if you think of yourself having to hide who you are from all those around you - it would become exhausting. 

The 'gay movement' has changed over the years since the 1969 Stonewall riots when a group of drag queens and trans-gendered people said they had enough of police raids on their bars: and pride was born. Since then, the marches have become about AIDS awareness, marriage equality, parenting, and many many more issues. The media always chooses to show half naked men when covering these events to upset their viewers and cause them to think all gay men want to run around nude (which trust me, is not true). I think simply put: men with perfect bodies (gay or straight) seem to enjoy being exhibitionist.

I live in a country where not everyone can agree on gay issues and I understand that. We have the right in this country to disagree. But sadly enough, other countries do not have it that easy and there are gay men and women living all over the world. Some countries have pride month where beatings occur from onlookers as well as police. Others must march along side police in riot gear. And worse yet, some have women who are raped to try and cure them of being lesbians. Watching these events in the documentary literary broke my heart to see what these countries will go through just to have one simple day to celebrate in a world where they can open the closet door - even if just opened a slight crack.

I'm lucky to live the way I do. I am so aware of that. But I know how important it is to have people that continue to fight and make noise even if it upsets those around them. Had those in NYC not done just that the year I was born, I wouldn't be living the way I am today. I salute those stonewall originals for having the pride in themselves that they did.    

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