Let’s me start this article by saying, I don’t care if you are gay, straight or anywhere in between. BUT…
What happened to self-respect and dignity?
I wrote this article after having a discussion with a neighbour about Gay Pride Parades. PARADES. Please note that I would write the same thing about “straight” parades like this.
Someone, anyone please explain to me how did walking mostly naked down the street come to represent the gay community or the gay lifestyle? And why? What about all the extraordinary people who suffered for the crime of being gay? How do these parades honour all those who came before you and fought for your rights? Is this how the community wants to celebrate their lives? Is that all there is?
I don’t get it. What am I missing? What does naked have to do with being gay?
Let’s look at Harvey Milk.
Harvey Milk spoke of the American ideal of equality, proclaiming,
“Gay people, we will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets. … We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out.”
He was assassinated for being gay.
There is an annual Harvey Milk Day. There are monuments and schools and streets and parks carrying his name. And a stamp!
Would he be proud of the evolution of gay pride?
Would he not ask if nearly naked men on parade floats or walking down the street represent one of “the truths about gays?” Is that the truth that gay people have been fighting for over the decades? To proudly share their dingle- dangles in public? In front of children?
And what of Alan Turig?
Alan Turing was not a well-known figure during his lifetime. But today he is famous for being an eccentric yet passionate British mathematician, who conceived modern computing and played a crucial part in the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in WW2 with his work at Bletchley cracking the ‘Enigma’ code. Some consider him the father of the computer. It has been estimated that the efforts of Turing and his fellow code-breakers shortened the war by several years. What is certain is that they saved countless lives and helped to determine the course and outcome of the conflict.
Alan Turing was arrested and came to trial on March 31, 1952, after the police learned of his sexual relationship with a young Manchester man. He made no serious denial or defence, instead telling everyone that he saw no wrong with his actions. He was particularly concerned to be open about his sexuality even in the hard and unsympathetic atmosphere of Manchester engineering. Rather than go to prison he accepted, for the period of a year, injections of estrogen intended to neutralize his libido.
In Canada, today, we are still talking about banning conversion therapy!
What would Turig say about Gay Pride, today?
I thought that the various gay communities would celebrate the fact that in the west, gay people are now equal under the law and free to marry and have children and run for office; to have the same rights and privileges as straight people. That they would celebrate the fact that what goes on behind closed doors stays there. No more Bath House raids. No more fear of blackmail for being gay.
I guess I just don’t get it. How and why did these parades come to symbolize gay life? Is that really how the average gay person wants to be perceived?
Again I ask, what would Harvey Milk and Alan Turing say?
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”