Just because we are gay men and happen to be married in an age gap relationship doesn’t mean we always think alike, quite the contrary. To me the Gay Pride Parade has always just been another day. While to Aaron it has always been another good reason to get wet and wild. Below is my thinking, it might be a bit different, but, it is what it is. Maybe with a bit of cajoling I might be able to get Aaron to tell his thoughts.
The closest I have gotten to celebrating Gay Pride was when I was about 35. I had just moved from a house to an apartment in West Hollywood, CA. My new apartment was on top of an office building and there were two other apartments in the building. They were all three floors and each apartment had huge terraces facing up and down Santa Monica Blvd. Perfect for watching the Gay Pride Parade.
I was the first tenant to move into the building. I was the nice boy with the nicest apartment in front. Next to move in, was one of the biggest, (or at least I thought so,) drug dealers in town. I cannot remember if he had one or two roommates. Now I hate saying this, but most of you are probably too young to remember who Heidi Fleiss was. She was one of the biggest madams in LA. I believe one of the reasons her business blew up and she was sent to jail was because Charlie Sheen started talking, a bit too much about all the fun he had at the house, Don’t quote me on this. It happened too long ago. Anyway, my final neighbor was one of her top dominatrixes, who brought most of her clients with her to her new home.
Suffice to say their was usually a line of limos parked up and down the block with people either buying drugs or coming to get disciplined. Sometimes my dog and I would just sit and watch all the comings and goings of the visitors. It was good fun, especially trying to recognize everyone.
At this point in my life I was finding my gayness and I can’t remember which neighbor it was who suggested we have a Gay Pride Party the day of the parade. Of course without thinking I said yes. Thinking what a great time I would have watching the parade from upstairs and running down into the throngs of people whenever I wanted.
I made two mistakes that day. One, don’t expect to have hundreds of people in your home and be able to enjoy yourself. Two, don’t let your new boyfriend out of your sight to experiment with drugs he has not done before. I found him underneath a table in the buildings garage, hiding from who or what, I was never quite sure. Basically, I don’t believe I ever saw the parade or was able to get lost in the crowds of people. It was funny I think there were more police at the entrance to our building controlling the crowds of people who wanted to come in than policing the parade.
So all in all I am still a Gay Pride Day novice. Aaron and I planned to go last year, we even had tickets, but somehow ended up at a party instead. I think it was meant to be a sex party, but we left before it got into full swing Maybe this year… not the sex party but the parade.
Every now and then I mull over in my head what Gay Pride actually represents or who it is for. I have come to the conclusion that it is not for me. However, I certainly can understand why it means so much to so many people.
When I say it is not for me I don’t suggest that by any means I do not have Gay Pride. I believe I have quite a bit of Pride in who I am and being Gay is a large part of me. I also have Jewish pride, American Pride and now maybe just a bit of Irish Pride. My pride is with me everyday. I do not think anyone gay should forget who they are or who fought the wars so they could live their lives as they choose too and as equals. I actually think this is one of the reasons for the parade and an important one. The same thing for the Jewish people we should never forget the wars we have fought especially the holocaust, the millions of Irish who perished in the potato famine and the Americans fight for independence.
For myself, It may sound ridiculous but I would prefer something more inclusive. My only idea is a pride day where everyone can march and celebrate their own pride and who they are. I understand people's needs to celebrate who they are, but we are the sum of our parts and rather than separate from one another maybe we should be more inclusive and celebrate the fact that we are all different but can join hands and come together to rejoice in who we are. As I said above being gay is a huge part of me. Yet, it only represents a fraction of who I am as a person and I want to celebrate all of me.
I know not everyone will agree with me and I do not pretend to be right.
There are also many aspects of Gay Pride month that are great. What I love the most about LGBTQ+Pride month is it can give so many people, (especially young people,) a sense of belonging and allows them to express and celebrate who they are. Unfortunately, for many gays it is also an opportunity to be themselves without feeling a backlash from so many uneducated people. I find it agonizing when I hear stories from young gays who are fleeing the small towns they grew up in because of the bigotry and discrimination they face.
Historically pride month recognizes the significance of the Stonewall Riots which took place in June of 1969, The riots represented a turning point in the LGBTQ’s fight for equal rights. I said above, Pride should serve as a reminder of the people who fought for them to be able to live their lives as they choose.
More importantly than a parade I believe LGBTQ Pride month should serve as an education, not only for Gays but also the public. I find it frightening today what so many of the states in America are trying to do about taking the hard earned rights of the LGBTQ people away. It often makes me embarrassed to be American.
In addition to fostering a community for the LGBTQ, Gay Pride month should also foster the idea of community with society at large. The more we interact with the rest of society the quicker people will come to see that we are all the same and deserve the same right as everyone else. Sometimes I think I might be a bit apathetic when I harbor some of my thoughts on what is going on in the LGBTQ community, (also the Jewish community,) today. However I don’t feel marching in a parade is going to cause change. For those who do participate I hope it is more than just a big party.