Straights, heteros, cisgendereds, normcores, listen up: we have some work to do before spending this weekend enjoying Pride.
Pride weekend is a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community, yes. We spend Pride weekend celebrating diversity and generally enjoying everything about queer culture - such as the community’s general nonjudgmental sense of inclusiveness and ability to throw killer parties and contour their cheekbones - and then we go home and return to real life, wherein we do not face life-threatening circumstances every day based on who we fuck (or don’t) or what gender we are (or aren’t).
But the folks who make up our LGBTQIA+ community can’t walk away from it. They are still queer even when there’s no party happening. They’re queer at work, they’re queer at the DMV, they’re queer driving through Northern Maine to go see their grandparents, they’re queer at the supermarket, at the doctor, at the gas station. Queer people don’t “turn off” or disappear just because you’re not around to gawk at them. Not a single one of us can change our true gender and sexuality (we can deny it all we want, sure, good luck with that, Pam) any more than we can change our blood type.
But nobody beats us up, rapes us, spits on us, calls us disgusting names or opens fire on a group of us with a military assault rifle based on our blood type. I mean, just imagine going through your life knowing that who you are is so threatening to certain people, makes some people so angry, that just being yourself is a life-threatening behavior. That’s no way to live. And yet that’s what queer people in our country and our city of Portland live with every day.
Why? What have the gays done to you lately?
I mean that seriously - what offense have the gays really committed that enrages you so? Don’t fucking tell me that “their lifestyle is an affront to god” or some dumb dogmatic bullshit that you cling to to cope with your fear of life and wouldn’t be able to explain if questioned about it. If gay people really are pissing off god (they’re not, not even a little bit, but whatever), let god deal with it. It’s not your concern. But I think it’s something else; I think it’s a mix of resentment that you see a community just being itself while you have spent your life living up to others’ expectations, I think that you secretly watch and get your boners from gay or lesbian or trans or whatever-the-fuck porn and are ashamed of it because of your stupid parents saying stupid judgmental shit to you, I think you once had a crush on a queer person and he/she/they spurned you, I think you see queer people creating beauty and power within their own community and that is threatening to you because you’ve never created anything, I think you can’t cope with the fluidity and ambiguity of your own sexuality and your own gender and you won’t - that’s right, won’t - use your highly evolved brain to explore that more and develop compassion in your heart because you’re scared.
You’re scared of losing your power.
But the truth is, none of us have any real power. It’s all fake. We are all at the mercy of each other and our chaotic universe every day. And “power” is a tool that bad people use to control you. I’m familiar with that because people have been trying to put some kind of political remote control into my fucking uterus since I was born. And obviously all of us “normals” aren’t power-seeking bigots. Obvs. But oh man are we overshadowed by assholes.
FUUUUUUUUUCK. It’s so fucking gross, I hate it. My heart aches and I want to sob uncontrollably.
In June 1969, police in New York City raided The Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay club on Christopher Street, ostensibly for serving liquor without a license. But the raid didn’t stop at the staff and owners - when the police started arresting and brutalizing members of the community, the community fought back and began rioting in growing numbers, and didn’t stop for weeks, catalyzing the first open discussion of LGBT civil rights in this country.
Every June, Pride is a celebration of diversity and community, yes - but it is also a commemoration of the fight that the queer community has had to go through since basically forever. And it hasn’t gotten easier, and it hasn’t disappeared, it’s just changed. Now we have easily-accessible military assault weapons, now we have open bigots running for president, now we have crusty old white men clinging to the last dregs of their fake power in the face of a changing country whose working class is rapidly becoming more “minorities” than ever and doing everything they can to cling to their money and fake stupid status, and we have all kinds of religious zealots with sets of arbitrary rules that sanction violence against anyone who does not comply with them.
So your LGBTQIA+ community is under attack, you see. And before you gather up your gaggle of girls and put on your rainbow tutus and try to make out with some hot as fuck dyke at Blackstones this weekend “because it will be hilarious,” or before you take your girlfriend to a Pride party looking for a unicorn, before you gather at the edges of Congress Street to ogle all the naked torsos and buns of steel, before you go to the drag show and start drunkenly telling the queens that you have always wanted to do drag and omg wouldn’t you be so good at it aren’t you so hot and omg you’d be such a great tranny (*RAAAAAAAAGE*), PLEASE remember that this is a vulnerable community that does not need you this weekend. This weekend is not about us straights. Participate, yes, absolutely, but do not make it about you. You can’t just be “queer for a day” because you want to feel included. All things considered, that’s one of the most offensive things you can do at Pride, especially one week after Orlando.
So how can we, the straights, the heteros, the normcores and the cisgendereds participate in Pride in a way that’s not upsetting or threatening in the wake of a queer safe space turning into a cataclysmic tragedy? Well, we should probably ask members of the LGBTQIA+ community themselves. I turned comments on this web site back on for this post and I hope that all y’all will consider this a safe space to comment on how to do right by our brothers, sisters and siblings of all ilks at Pride this weekend.
I fucking love you guys, and I love this town.
And please note, I will not hesitate to delete anything that even remotely resembles bigoted/trolling/violent language.