Thursday, July 10, 2008

happy pride

so i hate to be a downer, but i just wasn't feeling pride this year.

i got the texts, the fliers, the shout outs, but it didn't feel any different.

i remember my first pride was when i was 18, i headed to the city (sf) on my own, and met up with a random friend of mine. it was exciting, i was young. since then i have gone out per the general gay population in urban areas during the month of june, but my best pride ever was visiting new york when i was 20. I had never been here, and i fell in love.

since i moved here, i've come to realize everyday in new york is gay pride, especially in chelsea, but even in harlem (which is not a stretch, hello harlem renesance. i was getting on the train once and 125th and Lex, and there was some drummers going off. I hear a distant "AAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWW" and see a group of three young kinds vougeing from around the stairs to the beat of the drums. I gagged. i would say fierce, but that lil punk Christian dragged the word through the mud, so i will say fabulous. that to me is gay pride. gay pride has never been some white queens waving some rainbow flag. pride to me is not doing what is expected of you, but what you feel is right.

I was out over the "pride" weekend, and was in Tribeca. It felt like any other weekend, yet i was put off. I thought to myself "This is New York, why are the hetero's out partying, shouldn't they being staying in and letting the gays take over the streets?"

Not so much.

I was looking at some pictures of SF Pride on facebook. A bunch of friends, and their other hetero friends were there, taking pictures, having fun. pride to me has become just that. a celebration for the people who don't really know what pride is, and couldn't really explain to you why its important. but what about the parades? I don't identify with the naked -or scantily clad- men walking down the street. Yes, I think its important to combat our colonized ideas of beauty and facist ideals of the male body, but aren't there more effective and productive ways of doing that? These same naked men will probably be the ones to grab my body in a club - making me extremely uncomfortable- and get mad at me for pushing them against a wall in defense. Pride to me is more about just being out there and not caring what people think, but its about demanding respect, and more importantly, giving it. I think we should celebrate naked bodies -especially in america, where they show people getting shot on tv, but not nudity. But when all you are doing is marching down the street in provocative attire - or lack there of, are you really making a difference?

New York City's Pride was sponsored by Bank Of America, Delta Airlines, Google, and Sky Vodka, to name a few. All i see, is banks taking my money, flights i cant afford, internet stealing my privacy rights, and alcohol companies filling our bodies with poison, and gay magazines with ads rather than HIV prevention material. yea yea yea, I'm being negative and whatever. But Gay pride in the Stonewall age was about pounding back on the status quo, not accepting it, and certainly not getting paid by it.

My fear is that Pride has become just like all the other pointless occasions commodified by corporations. Fourth of July, New Years, Memorial Day, Valentines Day, etc.


1 comment:

Jamilah said...

pride has never been my cup of tea, and not even for the corporate monopoly reasons. i'm not really a fan of being around hundreds, thousands and sometimes millions of drunk folks & the superficial energy that surrounds it (like 'it's ok to be gay this week. make sure you fuck as many people possible and/or get numbers!')

but aside from that, with very few exceptions, sf pride is def. not poc/youth friendly (there's like one block devoted to 'hip-hop and youth culture'). And pride is always so incredibly gay male centric OR super butch (read: white) lesbian -- but i guess that goes for the visible queer community in general. it's just an all around whack situation, but somehow, every year, i find myself on 18th and Castro trying not slip on spilled beer and listening to someone scream into their cell phone trying to find their friends. whaaaack!