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by angelica osborne THE GAY MOTHERSHIP IS CALLING EVERYONE HOME! It’s almost time for summer, which means PRIDE is here! Hook up

that Pride ride, pick up your fave Pridesmaid, and let Pride fever reign supreme! I always reminisce about my first Pride celebration, I had just moved to

New Youk City from Ohio a few weeks before and I was still somewhat in a state of blissful culture shock. I was 23 years old, raised in Alabama, then off to college in the midwest, then NYC, where I was like a kid in a candy store on the verge of a diabetic coma! I only had two friends that I knew there before moving and they were both gay, so I was super lucky to have escorts for all the pandemonium. We all met up early before the parade that sunny, Saturday June morning in 1997 at The Duplex, the cabaret bar on 7th Ave & Christopher Street, right by Sheridan Square where the famous Stonewall statues stand. The special drink of the day was The Pink Triangle, a sour Pink lemonade infused with a buttload of alcohol. The breakfast of champions! By the time we finished the first round the streets were already packed. It looked as though the Gay Mothership was calling everyone home! There

were a few huge inflatable penises hanging out the windows above, Dykes on Bikes, Pride babies in rainbow onesies and lots of finely chiseled bodies! Oh Mercy, at all the pecs! There was so much energy in the air, which just fur- ther deepened my love for the city. This is where I wanted to be, in the thick of the celebration. I was truly inspired by so much authenticity, especially the type that is held down in all other aspects of life. I’ve heard people say that the Pride parade hurts the LGBT movement because it highlights only the flamboyant highly sexualized side of homosexuality, but for me that is so far from the truth.

There will always be those who want to be offended and will look hard to find it. In Belfast, Reverend David McIlveen from the Presbyterian Church was among those who made a small counter-demonstration at that city’s Pride. At one stage, a marcher broke off from the main parade and approached the protesters, bearing a poster that read “Jesus protect me from your follow- ers.” Another sign said “Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine,” LOL. Mr. Allister is now calling for an apology from the organizers. He wrote, “A few years ago there was a public outcry after a blasphemous placard was carried in the parade and organizers gave assurances that this would not happen again. These assurances have proven to be worthless.” So they will be protesting again this year. I say so what? I can assure they will be highly OUTnumbered and OUTshined! The news story of course was covered with blurred out signs and blurred

out breasts, but those images will end up in the paper for sensationalism. There are plenty of gay families, plenty of queens dressed down in khakis with polo shirts, plenty of marching groups such as “Bank of America Gay Workers,” that don’t fit what conservative America wants to see represent- ing LGBT people. That would force them to believe that people in their own world might be gay too—imagine that! The truth is that Pride isn’t about convincing others of anything; it’s about personal empowerment! Pride isn’t to persuade non-believers to the cause. We can do that on the other 364 days of the year. It’s for gay people and their allies to celebrate together, to publicly declare “pride” and solidarity with each other. June 28, 1970, was the first gay pride march in the U.S., it covered 51 blocks,

from Christopher Street to Central Park. On the third night of the Stonewall rebellion, 37 men and women founded the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), a very vocal and daring organization. They were the first LGBT organization to use the word “gay” and aligned themselves with other civil rights groups like the Black Panthers and anti-war organizations. In his letter, “Mother Stonewall and the Golden Rats,” Stonewall veteran Tommy Lanigan Schmidt describes those that started the modern day LGBT rights movement: “This wasn’t a 1960s Student Riot. We were out there on the streets. There were no nice dorms for sleeping, no school cafeteria for food and no affluent parents to send us checks. This was a ghetto riot on home turf. We already had our war wounds.” They called on LGBT people to come, “out of the closet and into the streets!”

So the early marchers obviously weren’t worried about acting “too gay,” in fact the goal was to radiate GAY in a big way! So why feel the need to shrink smaller if your true self is a grand, dazzling delight? Let that freak flag fly! If you were really worried about what people thought, you probably wouldn’t be at Gay Pride Festivities in the first place, am I right? If you should encoun- ter hatemongers at Pride this year, I suggest you smile the happiest smile you can muster whilst showering them with glitter and beam gratitude that you aren’t one of them. Kill them with your dazzling self-love!


Photo by Carie Camacho

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