The Pride Manifesto of an “In-Betweener”

A-11Stephanie Donald—Publisher, LGBT-Today

First, I must apologize for my prolonged absence and neglect of the magazine. I’ve been very sick for the past few months and although I feel much better, the medical community is somewhat at a loss as to what happened or why. Try living on Medicare sometime and you’ll find out that you’d definitely feel more secure if Moe, Larry and Curly were your doctors (nyuk, nyuk, myuk!)!Although “Pride” season isn’t quite over yet, the bigger cities have already held theirs and after seeing pictures, watching the video footage and reading the media accounts, all I can say for comment is: “Yawn.”

I am of an age where I was just too young to be part of the original gay civil rights movements before Stonewall and likewise with the post-Stonewall First Gay Pride in NYCFirst Gay Pride in NYC--It sure looks like these people are protesting and have little interest in getting "wasted." doesn't it? This is the first known "Gay Pride" parade/protest conducted on Christopher Street, in front of the Stonewall Inn where, the year before, the rebellion against the police happened.era, GLF and GAA era of the early 1970s. I didn’t graduate high school until 1973.

That doesn’t preclude my having participated in some rather risqué issues while living at home with my parents in small-town Florida, where being gay or lesbian might earn you a one-way ticket to an early grave, and if my father had found out, he definitely would have turned me out as a homeless teen. My father and I had enough issues without the lesbian thing that it already made me feel I was walking on the sharp edge of a razor blade from 1969-1973.

Whatever I learned about the gay rights movement I learned in bits and pieces from people whom I went to college with who were from New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It made me want to travel to these places and stay there so I could become involved. San Francisco particularly interested me. Had I followed my whim, I might have been there when Harvey Milk was at his peak. The main point here is that in a time long before the invention of the internet in the 1970s,

But here I sit, in the same county I started off in and seeing hardly any movement in my community, and see all these cities where “Pride” means dressing up in silly clothes, getting as drunk as possible beginning on Friday night, not sleeping until Sunday night, and seeing how many people one person can bed (and can’t remember because of the booze and drugs) in 48 hours.

 

What does any of this have to do with celebrating the Stonewall Rebellion?

Would someone please tell me what that has to do with “Gay Pride" aside from acting like irresponsible party-holics?

In recent years, it has been suggested that we end the tradition of Gay Pride and I must now throw my hat in that ring. What is now known as Pride has nothing to do with demanding our total equality, educating heterosexuals about how we’re the same as they are or how we want the same thing they want. As some of the right-wing media talking heads have said, “Why don’t we get to hold ‘straight pride?’” I really can’t answer that question any longer because our “Pride” really has no value other than making vendors and Pride committee members as much money as possible.

lgbt-map-fired-620jt042613States marked in orange are all unprotected ones for the LGBT community to live and work in (totalling 29--or a majority out of 52 states!).Over the past 10-15 years, I’ve tried to get real gay pioneers to speak at Pride events and as soon as they step up to the microphone, the crowd’s eyes go glossy and they walk away faster than turning a fire hose on them. They have no interest in learning about how things used to be and how we got from there to here. They take everything for granted and have no idea what are and aren’t their legal rights. On Facebook, I’ve seen people I know in places like Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida get fired from their jobs and they tell their friends and 500 gay men and another 500 lesbians will pipe in and yell, “They can’t do that! It’s illegal!”

Guess again, my little chickadees! Unless a state, county or city has passed some sort of law, ordinance or statute that specifically protects the rights of those under the category of sexual orientation (or preference), or gender preference, then you have no protection and your employer may do with you as they wish. Those same states also have another harmful issue even if there was a gay civil rights law that’s called a “Right to Work” clause.

Right to Work states are those that are set up so that no union may force themselves on all the employees of any business, nor in the event of an organized strike is there any law that prevents “scabs” (non-union people) from crossing the picket line. The other, much worse issue about Right to Work is that an employer mayStonewall Carter terminate any employee for any reason (or no reason at all) without taking into account seniority or any other factors. So even if a law protects you because you’re gay and live in Texas, being they have a Right to Work law, your boss can walk up and tell you that you’re fired even if you have 20 years on the job once he found out you’re gay.

Excuse me! I’m sorry! I forgot that the majority of you could care less about “politics…” That is until this shit intrudes on YOUR real world and then you start writing your Congressman (Oh, shit! Those are mostly Tea-Party morons who want us to die anyway!) and Senators, your governor or whomever you can come up with to send a petitions to that they won’t read and drop in the nearest trash can. I’m afraid at this point your friends won’t really be that close behind you. Money is everything and unemployment is one step ahead of your lights being turned off, being evicted or foreclosed on and as the old blues song goes, “Nobody loves you when you’re down and out!”

In my mind, what we really need instead of Gay Pride Parades and concerts, vendors, etc. is a concerted effort to encourage our community to read, read, read, and read during the month of June. If they could read at least 2 books during May-June of each year then that would serve the issue of pride much better than lying in the storm drain puking their guts up.

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