Thursday, June 29, 2006

Happy Belated Pride

As I was reading this week everyone else's posts about their pride weekend, I realized I should do one too. So happy belated Chicago Pride! I had a good time Sunday. I missed the parade and arrived to Boystown late. Unfortunately no one really coordinated their schedules well and my friends were scattered all over Halsted. Once I started drinking I was all over the place too. Things didn't go as I would have liked them too but I still had fun. Next year I am making sure I do not take a vacation in June!

On a serious note, and please forgive me if I sound preachy, I would like to say that despite the excessive drinking I still have not lost sight of the true meaning of gay pride. Yes, the parade is boring as hell and I don't really feel bad having missed it, but I realize how fortunate I am to live in a city that embraces such an event. I also realize how unfortunate I am living in a country that still doesn't recognize the LBGT community as being equal. I will admit I can be one of the most self-absorbed, superficial and shallow people I know, but I try my best to do some good in this world and support the causes I believe in. I am not posting today to push advertise my own beliefs, but I would like to pass along a bit of advice to whoever happens to read this. Take responsibility for the world around you. Don't just simply "live". Do something postive with your life and make a difference in the lives of others!

I spent last year volunteering at the Howard Brown Health Center. Giving up even a few hours of my time every week was grueling, especially with school and work. For pride this year, I decided to become a memeber of the Human Rights Campaign. I may not have the time anymore to donate, but I made a financial sacrifice and gave up the $20 a month subscription I had to an internet porn site and put it toward a cause I am proud to be associated with.

It's so easy to get caught up in life's everday dilemmas, but I don't believe we should settle with simply being here. Surely there is more to life than that.

So in the words of Britney Spears "Get up out of your seat, Why don’t u do something?"


Blogger Chargenda said...

nice post. I wish we could all just enjoy Pride, take it for what it is and not bitch about the politics, how the parade is boring, blah blah blah.

12:57 PM  
Blogger innommable said...

I just don't get why they call it Pride... Will someone explain that to me?

8:27 PM  
Blogger Chicago_Sexbox said...

Are you not familiar with Stonewall? I imagine the term "pride" came about since being proud is the opposite of being ashamed, and the whole beginning of the gay rights movement emphasized no longer needing to feel ashamed because of one's sexuality.

10:24 PM  
Blogger innommable said...

Hmmm... I can understand the idea of not being ashamed of it. I guess I used to be, not so much ashamed, but afraid to say I was gay as a young boy. I was afraid to be gay-bashed. But I belive that in my situation, the normal progression was to grow out of the fear of being bashed and realizing that as a free and individual human being, no one had any right to victimize me for being gay, because it was something that I simply was; I couldn't help liking boys. Being victimized for that reason was akin to being victimized for being latino, or rich (or poor), or a woman, etc.

I have never attended a Pride parade. That's not something I'm either proud or ashamed of, it's just true. I think such parades are actually kind of ridiculous. Have you ever seen "Puerto Ricans" or "Mexicans" riding around in Chicago with big flags flying, as they hang out of their cars yelling "Viva Puerto Rico!" or "Viva Mexico!"? Living in Humboldt Park, I always wondered, "Why?"

They called it pride, but I never understood it. They never did anything to achieve their Puerto-Ricanness, or Mexicanness... and in any case, what is the essence of being Puerto Rican, or Mexican, or whatever. Other than being born, it isn't really anything to be proud of. I mean, I guess you can be happy about it, but proud? It doesn't make sense.

I think you pointed it out in your response when you said that "the term "pride" came about since being proud is the opposite of being ashamed." What you do when you speak in those terms it to completely polarize the issue. You erase the middle, which is just being OK with it, but not making it the essence of one's identity. It's certainly not the essence of my identity, AND at the same time, I'm neither proud nor ashamed of being gay.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Chicago_Sexbox said...

I liked your analogy of the ethnic parades. I am not too interested in those either :)

Definitely someone's sexuality shouldn't be the absolute essence of their being. How one dimensional the world would be. I also completely understand your indifferent attitude about pride.
My post though wasn't so much about the pride parade, but what we as individuals can and/or should do every day of our lives, assuming we consider equal rights for the LGBT community necessary to pursue a happy life in this country.

For our generation I think it is very difficult, if not impossible, to truly grasp how far the fight for gay rights movement has come in the past 35 years. I certainly cannot fathom having to fear police brutality every night I went out with gay friends, or the worry that I would lose my job or home if I came out because there were no discrimination laws protecting me. However, it shouldn't be hard for us to realize how far we still have to go. As long as the LGBT community is treated as 2nd class citizens, the message contines to spread that some people are not as valuable as others and that they can be beaten, thrown to a curb and/or left for dead (much like what happened to Kevin Aviance last month in New York City, or even Mathew Shepard).

It is a shame that pride has become so commercialized and lost its focus to a certain extent. Although it is very encouraging to see prominent political figures taking part in these events, but at the same time it is hard to take the whole thing seriously when they are followed by a float full of strippers. Nevertheless , there is strength in numbers and when 400,000 people congregate for one purpose, mainstream America has no choice but to take notice, regardless of how much they wish we would go back into our closets.

So perhaps it is called pride simply for a lack of a better word. At the end of the day though it is simply a question of semantics when one sees pride has more to do with what happens those other 364 days of the year.

4:55 PM  

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