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Enough pride already

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Buzz Publications
July 3, 2006


Call me politically incorrect, but I am so over this gay pride thing. Been there, done that, bought the rainbow flag. Isn't it time we evolved?

Not that a parade of half naked men, chicks with dicks, and dykes on bikes is not welcome relief from the mundane. They always are. All creative displays of cultural exuberance should be encouraged, including parades. The freedom to march proudly in the streets was long in coming, and should not be taken for granted.

Pride is good, but is it enough?

More than a quarter century has passed since the first gay pride parade in 1969. Most would agree the GLBT community has come a long way since the Stonewall riots prompted people into the streets demanding their civil rights against bigotry and police brutality. The sexual freedom of the 70's, the harsh reality of the 80's, and the chic acceptance of the 90's, still seems to lead us to a place where men who seek intimate relations with other men, and women who want to form nested breeding pairs are still considered a degenerate subculture.

As Americans, protected by the Constitution and the Bill of rights, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals deserve equal and full civil rights under the law. Is open discrimination of gays and lesbian at state and federal levels of government something to celebrate in the park? How will balloons and disco music bring about unquestioned equality?

World wide, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered are still being used as social scapegoats in a world angry with fundamentalist dogma. In North America, some states are seeking to ban gays and lesbians from being foster parents, others already have and ban gay adoptions. The United States Federal government openly discriminates against homosexuals and people involved in homosexual activity, prohibiting men and women from actively serving in any branch of the military.

And then there is all the talk about a Constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. Sure I know it's a bunch of crap, but it's hateful crap, and regardless if it is actually doable, the fact that el Presidente Bush keeps bringing it up does not bode well for the gay and lesbian citizens.

In Iraq, a death-to-gays fatwa issued by Shiite Muslim leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has resulted in the systematic targeting of gay Iraqis for persecution and execution by Badr Corp death squads. This antigay fatwa demands, "People involved" in homosexuality "should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing." Gay Iraqis who have sought protection from U.S. authorities in the "Green Zone" around Baghdad have been met with indifference and derision, later to be found murdered execution style. American forces have do nothing to prevent or protect Iraqi citizens from these "sexual cleansing" death squads.

In Iran those found guilty of homosexuality are offered their choice of execution. Of the four options, hanging is the most humane. In Cameroon, the Roman Catholic Church issued a statement denouncing homosexuality in December of 2005. In January 2006, three Cameroonian newspapers published a list of government officials, musicians and businessmen accused of homosexuality. In Poland, president Lech Kaczynski declared "public promotion of homosexuality will not be allowed."

Gay men and women can no longer afford the luxury of thinking we have arrived, if members of the international GLBT community are being hunted down and executed. Instead of building cheesy parade floats, perhaps those wishing to demonstrate gay pride should do so by demanding targeted gay men be granted immediate political asylum when requesting protection from persecution.

Gay pride needs to be replaced with gay purpose. If we are to evolve as a subculture, and endure as part of a larger one, it is vital that we, the people of the rainbow, reassess our priorities in response to growing oppression at the hands of hatemongering fundamentalists. For far too long queer identity has not included moral outrage and militant action. To remain free we must be willing to fight against the forces of bigotry and injustice.

The West Hollywood Cheerleaders are no longer the revolutionaries they once were. Now merely tired queens looking for relevance in tired ritual, they are a living testament to the gay community's inability to take itself, or it adversaries, seriously.

Stonewall was only the first step, it's time we moved forward.

Enough Pride already, we should be demanding progress!

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